Nothing like a good bath after hunting!

Jean-François de Troy (Paris, 1679 – Rome, 1752), Diana bathing with her nymphs, oil on canvas, 1737

She’s very much the centre of attention. Relaxing after her efforts, draped in an animal skin, she’s having her hair brushed and is enjoying a massage. She’s Diana, the goddess of hunting and the moon. Have you noticed the little crescent dancing above her head?

In this episode recounted by Ovid in The Metamorphoses, Diana has returned from hunting. And she hasn’t come home empty-handed! To the right of the picture is the deer that she has brought back, while her dogs are in the foreground. The scene takes place in a grotto, where she is surrounded by nymphs, goddesses of nature.

The lines are curved, the postures delicate, the colours varied, the women unclothed… in short, we’re in the French 18th Century!