Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon

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Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
Collection of the Bermuda National Gallery and the Government of Bermuda: The Hon. Herward T. Watlington Bequest
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
c.1755-57 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 102.9 x 137.2 cm
Imperial: 40 1/2 x 54 in.
Wilson Online Reference
Diana and the nymphs are seen in the centre foreground and on the left is Actaeon in the form of a stag, head back with antlers to the right, pursued by his hounds. A relief of Leda and the Swan is on the architectural fragment, lower left. A small female figure, perhaps Callisto attempting to hide, is clinging to the branch in the water to the right. Diana wears the crescent moon on her head to symbolise her role as moon-goddess. In the distance are classical ruins and in the middle ground a block-like cliff or ruin, with a shadow of trees falling upon it.
Society of British Artists (Suffolk Street) 1832 (74), lent Northwick; Leggatt 1951 (33 - Classical Landscape)
John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick (1769-1859), Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham; sold Phillips at Thirlestaine House, 12 August 1859 (1196 - Campagna di Roma with the Story of Diana and Actaeon), bt J. Daubeney; the Revd Benjamin Gibbons, Cheltenham; c.1925 Major W.H.S. Alston, London; with Leggatt; with Buttery; the Hon. Hereward Watlington (1902-1989), Woodside, Devon; bequeathed to the Government of Bermuda 1989; on loan to the Bermuda National Gallery
The subject is from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 3, lines 192-252. Diana was bathing with three of her maidens when she noticed the hunter Actaeon spying on them from behind the trees. Outraged, the goddess of chastity and hunting turned him into a stag and his own hounds tore him to pieces.
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Related Paintings
Pendant: P127C Diana and Callisto, Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums, Liverpool
P87 Ariccia - II, Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wiltshire
P87A Fallen Tree at Ariccia, Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wiltshire
Critical commentary
As noted by W.G. Constable, the present work differs slightly from P63, Private Collection, England, in the shapes of the trees and ruined castle and in the foliage, which is more elaborate, suggesting a later date.
Waagen 1854, vol. 3, p. 211, Letter XXVI, Thirlestaine House: 'A large and very rich landscape, in the taste of Claude; in front girls bathing. Poetically conceived, and in a powerful and clear tone. Very carefully executed'; WGC, p. 160 under pl. 17a
More Information
The fallen tree trunk at the right in this painting, although on a different scale, is similar to the one shown in P87 Ariccia - II and P87A Fallen Tree at Ariccia