BALEN, Hendrick van
(b. 1575, Antwerpen, d. 1632, Antwerpen)

Diana Turns Actaeon into a Stag

c. 1605
Oil on copper, 36 x 46 cm
Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest

The story with Diana and Actaeon was a favourite with the late Mannerist painters. This is understandable, because the myth, particularly in Ovid's playful, witty and lively presentation, contains both stimulatingly erotic and shivering horror story elements and thus was perfectly suited for the contemporary spirit. In Balen's painting Diana's figure is placed in the centre in a regal position. Over the head of the virgin goddess, Cupid is holding a crown of flowers. The action is developed in depth and the light falling on the women bathing in the clearing in the background indicates that the scene is located in a shadowy wood. The artist painted his figures according to Italian models.