Like many artists today, the young Rembrandt set out to be the bad boy of his time. Perhaps with a bit of a wink, he defied conventional notions of beauty. His Diana, goddess of the hunt, is far from the sleek, flawless beauty envisioned by Abraham Bloemaert’s Danaë engraving. No, this woman is natural, human, not idealized.

Rembrandt has his goddess gaze out, perhaps to catch the viewer in an act of voyeurism. He also implies a punishment. In a key moment of Diana’s story, she looks out to see the hunter Acteon ogling her and her maidens while they are bathing. She responds by transforming him into a stag who is then eaten by his dogs.

Image: Rembrandt, Diana at the Bath, c. 1631, etching. The John R. Van Derlip Fund 2009.19.2

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