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Washington Aliston, Diana on a Chase (1805)

For Artwork in Focus we explore individual artworks, critiquing their style and discussing their socio-political context. Today we look at Diana on a Chase (c. 1805) by Washington Aliston

 About the Work

Title : Diana on a Chase
Artist : Washington Aliston
Year : 1805
Medium : Oil on canvas
Dimensions : 163.8 x 241.3 cm (64 1/2 x 95 in.)
Location : Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Diana on a Chase

In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt. Depicted here by Washington Aliston, Diana is with her nymphs, seemingly on the outskirts of a forested area, on a chase. They each have bows and arrows and seem to have spotted something in the distance. As they strategise their next move, their domesticated pet dogs stand nearby. Each with a golden collar, the black one looks at them while the grey one seems to have spotted the same thing they have.

In the distance we see two other figures – one human and on dog – with their backs facing us.

In this painting, Aliston, like many other artists of his time, references ancient history and mythology.

Other Details

Washington Aliston’s Diana on a Chase is housed in the Harvard Art Museums in Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century. It is part of the museum’s collection of the The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World.

To learn more about iconic artworks and their socio-political context, visit Artwork in Focus.

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