(b. 1602, Bevagna, d. 1649, Roma)
The Hunt of Diana1638-39
Oil on canvas, 300 x 410 cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome
Painted at the commission of Urban VIII's nephew Taddeo Barberini, the two large canvases, The Massacre of the Niobids and The Hunt of Diana were recorded in 1648-49 as hanging in his residence in the Via dei Giubbonari. Later, between the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries, they were transferred to the Palazzo Barberini alle Quattro Fontane, where they were definitively recorded in 1817.
On the basis of payments to Camassei recorded in the Barberini account books for the Hunt of Diana, the paintings can be dated to 1638-39. It was Cardinal Bentivoglio who originally introduced the artist to Prince Taddeo, who became the artist's patron and protector.
Many of the details of Camassei's treatment of this rare subject derive from a famous precedent, the Hunt of Diana that Domenichino executed in 1617 for Scipione Borghese. Nevertheless on a stylistic level Camassei detaches himself from his model, working in a manner that clearly shows the influence of the Roman neo-Venetian trend of the 1630's.