Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Aristocratic Diana

Marie-Joséphine-Louise de Savoie, comtesse de Provence as Diana by François-Hubert Drouais. 1773.
Many noble and royal ladies of the old regime had themselves painted as Diana or Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt. Anna Gibson says:
Allegorical portraits were a popular choice among the upper classes society for centuries. The 17th and 18th centuries saw a significant revival of interest in the ancient world, and portraits depicting their subjects as mythology-based allegorical portraits became widespread.

Diana, goddess of the moon and the hunt, was an especially popular choice for noble women. The portraits of these aristocratic "Dianas" usually depicted them at rest or in a traditional portrait style with the varied trappings (bow and arrow, a crescent moon headdress, hunting dogs, and so on) of their chosen goddess. Some women, such as the comtesse de Provence, even had themselves painted as Diana more than once! (Read more.)

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