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Huysmans shows this unknown woman dressed as Diana, virgin goddess of the hunt. She holds a spear and carries a quiver of arrows over her shoulder. The dogs suggest Diana’s hunting pack. Her semi-classical dress and her headdress of plumed feathers are similar to the costumes worn at court theatrical entertainments. These were lavish affairs for which no expense was spared to display the flamboyant opulence of the monarchy.Huysmans was born in Antwerp. He became a favourite painter of Catherine of Braganza, queen of Charles II.

April 2007