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Diana and Endymion
Pierre Subleyras
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This painting shows an episode from Ovid’s Art of Love (Book III: 83). The Roman goddess Diana would visit the shepherd Endymion every night while he slept. According to Cicero, Diana herself induced Endymion’s sleep so that she could enjoy him undisturbed. The subject was a popular one and had been painted by other French artists.

In 1728 Subleyras arrived in Rome to study, and he remained there for the rest of his life. This picture, particularly Endymion’s reclining pose, shows Subleyras’s knowledge of antique sculpture and Italian Renaissance painting. The painting’s balanced composition and restrained depiction of its poetic source – for example, the delicate way Diana barely touches Endymion’s face – connects it to pastoral and classical tastes that were promoted in Rome at the time.

Key facts
Artist Pierre Subleyras
Artist dates 1699 - 1749
Full title Diana and Endymion
Date made about 1745
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 73.5 x 99 cm
Acquisition credit Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2002
Inventory number NG6592
Location in Gallery Not on display
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