Diana after the Bath
© 2007 Musée du Louvre / Angèle Dequier
The goddess Diana rests after the hunt, assisted in her ritual toilet by a nymph. Under the veneer of the mythological subject matter, this painting is a hymn to the female body. The refined drawing, glowing skin, gentle touch, and luminous palette attest to the artist's maturity.
Back in favor
This female nude, painted in 1742, was purchased by the Louvre in 1852. It was the first Boucher painting to enter the Louvre since the early 19th century, thus marking the end of a long period when the artist's work, which the revolutionaries judged too frivolous, was out of favor. Exhibited in the Salon of 1742, Diana Leaving Her Bath belongs to a series of small paintings destined for collectors' cabinets.
A very sensual Diana
Diana frequently depicted in 18th-century French painting. In the hands of François Boucher, the huntress abandons her willful character. One can recognize the goddess by her standard attributes: the golden crescent she wears in her hair in reference to her connection with the moon, as well as the bow and recently felled game lying next to her. But most prominent here are the traits in fashion under the reign of Louis XV: the milky complexion, small full face, and curvaceous figure. Her virginal state distances her from any ill intent; she reveals her nudity with total frankness and lack of prudery, like a novice to the world of romance.
An exaltation of the female nude
Boucher is above all interested in the relationship between the body and nature. The intense blue of the drapery is offset by the rosy freshness of skin and the subtle green of the landscape. The treatment of the female nude is particularly delicate here; the modeling of the body is very sensual, as it is constructed entirely of light emanating from the left of the painting.
François BOUCHER (Paris, 1703 - Paris, 1770)
Diana after the Bath
H. 0.57 m; W. 0.73 m
Acquired in 1852 , 1852
The painters of Louis XV
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