- Inventory number
- Dyck, Anton van
- Diana and Endymion surprised by a Satyr
- 144 cm x 163 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “cuarto del infante don Luis-pinturas apeadas”, 1772, n. 421?; El Buen Retiro Palace, 1794, n. 1248)
Endymion, son of Aethlius and grandson of Jupiter was long enamored of the Moon (which is identified with Diana or Selene) but was continually rejected by her. Finally, his insistence bore fruit and he consummated his love. The mythological story doesn't come from Ovid, who was a customary source for mythological paintings, but instead from texts by Pliny, Sapho and Lucianus. Van Dyck depicts the end of this story when, after consummating their love, the couple sleeps placidly in the woods, where they are discovered by a satyr.
Van Dyck's representation is steeped in poetry, with light bathes the beautiful body of Diana, who is identifiable by the moon in her diadem and by elements alluding to her condition as goddess of the hunt: a dog, a bow and arrows, and the pieces in the lower right corner of the composition, which are, themselves, a magnificent still life.
The painting was highly influenced by the sensuality of Italian mythological painting and is based on models by Tintoretto (1519-1594), although it also draws on certain engravings by the Flemish artist, Aendrick Goltzius (1558-1617).
This work was first documented in Spain in the 1686 inventory of Madrid's Alcázar Palace.