National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of A Companion of Diana Jean-Louis Lemoyne (artist)
French, 1666 - 1755
A Companion of Diana, 1724
marble
overall: 182.5 x 76.5 x 57.8 cm (71 7/8 x 30 1/8 x 22 3/4 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.133
On View
From the Tour: Marble Sculpture from France
Object 3 of 8

This sculpture was one of a large group commissioned from several artists to represent the nymphs who attended the hunt-goddess Diana. Among the last of Louis XIV's great sculptural projects, the assemblage was designed for the gardens at Marly, his retreat from the rigorous formality of Versailles and a favorite hunting ground.

Lemoyne began work on his statue in 1710, but did not finish before Louis' death in 1715, by which time the project had languished. Lemoyne completed this work in 1724, and it was eventually installed in the garden of the new king's Chateau de la Muette. In the warmth and animation of Lemoyne's nymph, perhaps his finest work, are indications that he was among the first to embrace the delicacy of the new rococo style, which emerged in the early years of the eighteenth century. The figure's body is long and elegant, lightly draped, and enlivened by a dancelike pose. Her downward gaze toward the hound, who licks her thigh, introduces a note of intimacy tinged with eroticism typical of rococo.

Lemoyne's reputation as a sculptor rested largely on his portraits as did that of his more famous son, Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne, one of whose portrait busts is also in the Gallery's collection.

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