Diana and Actaeon
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More about Diana and Actaeon

soesterling's picture


In Diana and Actaeon, Jordaens brings more morals and myths to the masses, this time with the express purpose of showing off how good he is at painting nudes.


The most common version of the frequently painted Diana and Actaeon story is from Ovid and tells of Actaeon, an avid (or Ovid) hunter, coming across Diana (the Goddess of the Hunt) and her nymphs bathing naked in the woods. Transfixed by their beauty (boobs) Actaeon can’t look away and therefore appears to be a major perv when Diana catches him staring. As a Goddess known for her virtue she demands him to remain quiet but like an idiot he calls out for his hunting party. In revenge, she splashes him with magic water that turns him into a stag. His own dogs then proceed to hunt him down and rip him to shreds. A Hellenistic version of the story suggest that Actaeon was going around bragging that he was a better hunter than Diana and so she transforms him.  Very Greek. Much Hubris. Whichever version you prefer the moral is don’t f@#k with Diana.


This composition captures the moment the ladies realize Actaeon is creeping on them. For one of Jordaens’ smaller works (called cabinet paintings) he sure manages to paint a lot of naked ladies.  There are ten total, all scrambling to cover themselves resulting in what is truly a great example of Jordaens skill in capturing the human form. Meanwhile, it’s hard to pity Actaeon who stands derpily holding his spear at his hip pointing directly at the women. You don’t have to be Freud to find the sexual innuendo there.


mhoutzager's picture


Actaeon: "Hey ladies, check out my outstanding posture."

Diana: "Hope you like magical-man-into-stag-transforming water..."

Diana's helpers: "Nooo! Turn around, run!"

Actaeon's dogs: "Ok, this is getting weird, what's with all the naked ladies, aren't we supposed to be stag hunting?"