Painting oil on canvas depicting the myth of Diana and Actaeon with dimensions 110 x 130 without frame and 125 x 145 with frame by the painter Francesco Solimena.
According to the myth, during a hunting trip, Actaeon provoked Diana's anger, when he surprised her while taking a bath together with her companions in the shadow of the Gargafia forest. The summer heat, in fact, led her to put away her clothes and cool off by stopping the hunt. To prevent the hunter from saying a word about what he had seen, the goddess transformed the young man into a deer by spraying water on his face. Actaeon became aware of his transformation only when he ran away to a source, where he could mirror himself in the water. Meanwhile the hunter was joined by his 50 dogs, made furious by Artemis, who, not recognizing him, tore their old master to pieces. The dogs, once devoured Actaeon, set out in search of their master throughout the forest, filling it with painful moans. Later they arrived in the cave of Chiron who gave them an image of their master to ease their pain.
Francesco Solimena, also called L'Abate Ciccio, was a famous Italian painter of the late Baroque current. He was influenced, in his way of conceiving art, by Luca Giordano for creative and very scenic painting and Mattia Preti.
The passion that Francesco had for painting was encouraged by Cardinal Pietro Francesco Orsini, then Pope Benedict XIII, who in his stay in lower Nocera was dazzled by Francesco's artistic skills.
In the eighties of the seventeenth century Solimena's painting began to change and to characterize itself: from naturalism Francesco passed to the Baroque.
This canvas is masterfully painted by Francesco Solimena (Canale di Serino 1657 - Barra 1747) at the peak of his career and his style around the end of the 1600s / very early years of the 18th century where it is clear that Francesco, despite being attracted to the currents of the Baroque, it still brings out its naturalist spirit in the powerful volumetric construction of the bodies of the protagonists expertly dosed with an almost soft soft color that permeates the entire composition.
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