The Bath of Diana
Jean–Baptiste–Camille Corot ( French, 1796 - 1875 )
- About 1855
The Bath of Diana dates from 1855, a highpoint in Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot's career when his works were greatly admired at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Celebrated by the public and critics alike, Corot was particularly praised for his poetic and harmonious compositions. Included in the Exposition was a larger version of the present picture, The Company of Diana, Impression of Morning, which was purchased in 1858 by the Musée des Beaux Arts in Bordeaux. A reprisal of that larger painting, The Bath of Diana was presumably commissioned by the French dealers Cadart and Luquet for an eager collector in Toulouse. Indeed, the impact and popularity of Corot's Salon pictures prompted a frenzy of commissions from prominent collectors.
In this painting, Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, bathes in a river, accompanied by the nymphs and dogs that were her constant companions. In this dreamlike landscape populated by mythological figures, Corot uses a muted palette of greens, grays, and browns to depict the forms of trees, rocks, and hills. Though the scene of Diana at her bath was often treated as an erotic subject, here the diminuitive nudes appear lightly immaterial, even chaste.
Dorothy Kosinski, DMA Acquisition proposal (2005.15.FA), January 26, 2005
Heather MacDonald, DMA Label copy (2005.15.FA), October 2010