Diana's return from the hunt



Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting and wild animals, was the subject of several works by Boucher. This work, which depicts Diana resting with her companions, was originally an overdoor. The canvas was initially shaped to fit into a wooden panel, but was later enlarged into a rectangle to become an easel painting. Together with three other compositions, which are today held at the Wallace Collection in London and the Los Angeles County Museum, it formed a series that most likely would have been intended to decorate a private mansion. Boucher gave particular emphasis to the work's decorative aspect with his extensive use of cold hues and dynamic curves. The supple, tactile bodies of the young women reflect a sophisticated, subtle eroticism that was an integral part of his naturalistic language. We also note the still life to the left of the signature, which is similar to those of Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a friend of Boucher.