Monday, March 5, 2012

Batoni, Pompeo

Diana and Cupid (Diane et Cupidon)
oil on canvas
124.5 × 172.7 cm (49 × 68 in)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Pompeo Girolamo Batoni (1708 – 1787) was an Italian painter, born in Lucca, the son of a goldsmith, whose style incorporated elements of the French Rococo, Bolognese classicism, and nascent Neoclassicism. He adopted his style from the work of Raphael and ancient art, and was the highly-fashionable and greatest artist of eighteenth-century Rome. His portrait style was elegant and polished, often incorporating background scenes filled with Roman sculpture or architecture.

This picture, being considered the finest Batoni had ever painted, shows the goddess of the hunt withholding the bow from Cupid. The figure of Diana is based on the celebrated ancient statue of the sleeping Ariadne in the Vatican, which Batoni has invested with extraordinary warmth and feeling. This was painted for Sir Humphrey Morice (1723–1785), son of a wealthy merchant and director of the Bank of England.