This subject is loosely based on the Metamorphoses by the Roman poet, Ovid. Diana, goddess of the chase, is interrupted by a hunter, Actaeon, while bathing. She punishes him by turning him into a stag, and he is eaten by his own dogs.Stothard here shows a debt to the colouring and sensuality of Venetian painting, such as Titian's Diana and Aacteon, which had been bought by the Duke of Bridgewater in 1798. The London art market had boomed after the French Revolution, and the growth of great private collections which were open for viewing was an important influence on artists.
Gallery label, May 2007
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