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Diana on a Hunt

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This fragment depicts a scene from a Diana hunt. Diana imagery was popular in tapestries of this period: some of the compositions illustrate a particular mythological narrative, such as Diana and Actaeon or Diana and Callisto. Other Diana tapestries (including this one) have less specific themes, such as Diana hunting a fox or a boar, or the repose of Diana and her nymphs. Here, we see a wooded landscape with Diana wielding a hunting spear while one of her nymphs prepares to launch an arrow in the background. Above, Cupid comes to their aid or attempts to stop them. In the foreground running alongside Diana are a lion and a winged, fire-breathing dragon. The dragon is associated with Diana because dragons drive her chariot (the moon) across the night sky. A large portion of the composition is missing, and the evidence for Diana as the main figure is not entirely conclusive; an alternative iconographic reading would be Atalanta hunting the Calydonian boar, with Meleager and the boar appearing in the missing zones.
Department of Paintings Sculpture & Decorative Arts Mrs. Cortlandt Parker gift; to Fogg Art Museum 1954 Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum Gift of Mrs. Cortlandt Parker
Title: Diana on a Hunt
Description:
This fragment depicts a scene from a Diana hunt.
Diana imagery was popular in tapestries of this period: some of the compositions illustrate a particular mythological narrative, such as Diana and Actaeon or Diana and Callisto.
Other Diana tapestries (including this one) have less specific themes, such as Diana hunting a fox or a boar, or the repose of Diana and her nymphs.
Here, we see a wooded landscape with Diana wielding a hunting spear while one of her nymphs prepares to launch an arrow in the background.
Above, Cupid comes to their aid or attempts to stop them.
In the foreground running alongside Diana are a lion and a winged, fire-breathing dragon.
The dragon is associated with Diana because dragons drive her chariot (the moon) across the night sky.
A large portion of the composition is missing, and the evidence for Diana as the main figure is not entirely conclusive; an alternative iconographic reading would be Atalanta hunting the Calydonian boar, with Meleager and the boar appearing in the missing zones.

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