This work, with its pendant Diana and Callisto, is one of the most celebrated and admired paintings in the European tradition.

It has influenced the work of generations of high-profile artists, from Velázquez and Rubens to Turner and Constable down to Lucian Freud today. The fable of Diana and Actaeon is recounted by Ovid where the young huntsman Actaeon unwittingly came upon Diana and her nymphs bathing naked. Diana exacts a terrible revenge on the innocent Actaeon by transforming him into a stag, who is then devoured by his own loyal hunting dogs. This work was jointly acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London with a contribution from the Wolfson Foundation and will be paid by the Art Fund in three tranches of £383,333 starting in 2009.

Provenance

Painted for Philip II, King of Spain; by descent to Philip V; presented to 4th Duc de Gramont, French Ambassador to the Spanish court, 1704; presented to Philippe, 2nd Duc d'Orléans, circa 1706-8; by descent to Louis-Philippe-Joseph, Duc d


Scottish National Gallery

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