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Follower of Rembrandt, Diana bathing surprised by a Satyr

Key facts
Full title Diana bathing surprised by a Satyr
Artist Follower of Rembrandt
Artist dates 1606 - 1669
Date made 17th century
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 46.3 × 35.4 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2538
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Diana bathing surprised by a Satyr
Follower of Rembrandt

The Roman goddess Diana threatened death to any man who saw her bathing. Actaeon, who came across her in a forest pool by accident, was turned into a stag and torn to pieces by Diana’s hounds.

In this painting, the figure beside Diana looks more like a satyr (a mythical creature – half man, half goat), so it’s impossible to be certain what story the artist intended to portray. It’s not even certain that the nude figure lit up as if in a spotlight is Diana, though the presence of the hounds and the towel beside her suggests that’s who she is meant to be.

Although it was once believed to have been painted by Rembrandt, the picture is now thought to be by a one of his followers. It has darkened with age, obscuring the background and adding to the difficulty of a certain identification of either the story or the artist who painted it.

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