Engraving, Diane, anonymous


An early original copper plate engraving on heavy handmade paper. Shown are various classic images of the hunting goddess Diana. The print is from the French book L’antiquité expliquée et représentée by Dom Bernard de Montfaucon., And was published around 1722. The dimensions of the image are 31 x 17 cm. The whole is in a spacious passe partout. The image is in good condition.

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Dom Bernard de Montfaucon (January 13, 1655 – December 21, 1741) was a French Benedictine monk of the Congregation of Saint Maur. He was an astute scientist who founded the discipline of paleography, as well as an editor of works of the Church Fathers. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern archeology. Montfaucon published 15 volumes of L’antiquité expliquée et représentée and figures between 1719 and 1724. The work contains copper engraving engravings of classical antiquities.

Diana was the Roman goddess of the hunt (Diana Venatrix), as well as of wild nature, of the birth (Diana Lucina), of the moon (Diana Lucifera, “light-bearing Diana”) and as such equal to Hekate (Diana Trivia, goddess of the triple jumps).

She was originally an Italian (Sabine) moon goddess, whose essence was closely related to that of Janus. The Roman Diana, like her Greek variant Artemis, was a light and life-giving goddess. That is why she was later identified with Artemis and all the attributes and myths of these were transferred to her in Latin literature.

She was the daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Latona (Leto) (a titan), sister of Athena and twin sister of Apollo. Her favorite weapon was the bow and arrow. She was also often depicted with a deer, an animal that was very dear to her. An important characteristic of the goddess was that she always wanted to remain a virgin, so she was also the guardian of chastity. She was the virgin ruler of the forests and wild animals.

Her service was allegedly introduced in Rome by Latin plebeians. That is why she was primarily the patron goddess of the plebeians and also of the slaves. On the Aventine, the seat of the plebs, a famous temple (Aventina) was built by Servius Tullius, the friend of the low-class class and himself born into slavery, where she was honored as the goddess of the Latin covenant of cities. At Aricia on Lake Nemi she had a sacred forest (nemus Aricinum), to which a bloody worship was attached, by which this goddess was held for the Taurian Artemis and told that her service was brought here by Orestes, or by Hippolytos, the son of Theseus, who was raised from the dead by Aesculapius and taken by Diana to Aricia, where he would have ruled under the name of Virbius. In her sacred forest lived her priest, the Rex Nemorensis (“king of the forest”), who always was a runaway slave, and his position could only be achieved by killing the current priest.