Flemish painter 17th century - inv. 1039
The darkening of the surface due to alterations in the paint makes a clear reading of this small painting on copper difficult. It depicts Diana and her companions hunting in a wood. The goddess, though without her usual attributes (as the half moon on her forehead), can be recognised in the figure in the foreground holding a spear in her right hand while her left is raised. Her companions, robed in long flowing drapes and carrying hunting weapons (spears and quivers), roam about the wood with dogs. A satyr is spying on them, behind the two figures on the right.
The dense background of trees that opens the foreground onto the central path and the hills in the distance, dotted with vegetation and bathed in bright light, reveals Flemish influence in the landscape, coming from models diffused in Antwerp at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels, 1568 – Antwerp, 1625). Biblical and mythological subjects set in shaded woods are frequent in his repertoire, often realised in collaboration, for the figures, with Hendrick van Balen (Antwerp, 1575-1632).
The theme of Diana the huntress was very common in the Flemish area from the second decade of the seventeenth century, when series of paintings featuring the goddess and her companions were requested by the court in Brussels, where hunting was a great passion.