- Reference number
- Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish)
- Diana and Calisto
- 202,6 cm x 325,5 cm x 4 cm
- Figura Humana
- On display
- Colección Real (Real Alcázar, Madrid, 1734, nº 110; Palacio Real Nuevo, Madrid, primera sala de la Furriera, 1747, nº 110; Palacio Nuevo, Madrid, estudio de Andrés de la Calleja, 1772, nº 110; Casa de Rebeque, Madrid, 1794, s. n.; Academia, Madrid, Sala Reservada, 1827, nº 52)
Calisto, one of the nymphs that accompany Diana the huntress, was seduced by Jupiter, thus breaking her vow of chastity.
Rubens depicts the moment when the nymph, on the right, refuses to undress for her bath. Afraid the others will discover her pregnancy, she tries to keep the other nymphs from removing her clothing. On the left, attended by a slave, Diana reaches out to her in a gesture of affection and protection. The scene takes place at the edge of a forest, following a hunt whose trophies and weapons are still visible.
Rubens based this work on Ovid's Metamorphosis (book II, 453-507), giving the history a strong sensual and poetic content, especially in his treatment of the evening light. Those are characteristics of his final period, when his compositions were quite still, abandoning the strong diagonals and disequilibria of his earlier works. The landscape appears to have been painted by Lucas van Uden, who occasionally collaborated with Rubens.
The influence of Titian's mythological paintings is clear in this work, but Rubens is much more understanding and indulgent in his depiction of the nymph's error.
This work was at Madrid's Alcázar Palace in 1666.