Ivory cylinder with Diana and Acteon

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Southern Netherlands
17th century
11.8 cm
14.2 cm
12 cm

P. Malgouyres, Ivoires de la Renaissance et des Temps modernes - La collection du Musée du Louvre, Paris 2010, p. 145, 146, 163.

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Carved in high relief with the story of Diana and Actaeon, as can be found in Ovidius' Metamorphoses. The young hunter Actaeon stumbles upon the nude Diana, who is just taking a bath with her nymphs. In surprise, she splashes water over him and he is transformed in a deer with large antlers. The unfortunate hunter loses his ability to speak, fleds away and is later tracked down and killed by his dogs, who were unable to identify their master.

On this beautifully carved cylinder, we see the goddes and her company of nymphs startled in surprise. One side of the cylinder is carved with Actaeon about to start his transformation and the dogs that will eventually kill him. Besides him is the hunting party. On the other side is Diana with her nymphs, of which one, Callisto, is found out to be pregnant by Zeus. The other nymphs reveal her belly, and mock her; Diana demanded decency of the nymphs. Just as Actaeon, who's eyes gave in to sensual pleasure, Callisto is punished for giving in to sin and sent away. 

Cites no. 22NL307716/20


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