Signed, on top of base: A. Falguiere; Foundry mark: THIEBAUT FRERES/ FONDEURS/ PARIS [in circular cachet on top of base)
As one of the most celebrated sculptors of the 19th century, Jean-Alexandre-Joseph Falguière was particularly noted for his realistic sculptures of female nudes. His subject here is Diana, the Roman goddess of light, mountains, woods, and the hunt. She is also known as the virgin goddess who was the protector of women and childbirth. Here she poses with her bow as if preparing to shoot an arrow. On her head she bears a crescent, a reference to her personification of the moon. The figure’s provocative naturalism was much debated by art critics of the period, many of whom considered it too particularized and contemporary. A student of Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse, Falguière exhibited in every official Salon in Paris from 1863 until his death in 1900. His reputation as a sculptor and designer of public monuments was international.
At the time Frederick MacMonnies modeled his Diana, one of his earliest works, he was an assistant in the Paris studio of Falguière. Falguière had a profound and lasting influence on the younger artist, and Falguière’s Diana (1882) was an important prototype for MacMonnie’s own version of this goddess.
MacMonnies’s life-size plaster Diana brought him international acclaim, winning him an honorable mention at the 1889 Paris Salon. In it he captures the goddess’s fluid prance as she touches down on one foot and extends her lithe arms, having just released an arrow.
In comparing these two related works, what do you perceive to be the similarities in their depiction of the goddess? What differences do you see? Do you notice specific cultural qualities that identify them as either French or American?
From the 2019 exhibition Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-Century European Sculpture, curated by Katherine W. Hart, Senior Curator of Collections and Barbara C. & Harvey P. Hood 1918 Curator of Academic Programming
WRIT 5, On Poor Taste, William Boyer, Winter 2015
CLST 04, Classical Mythology, Simone Oppen, Fall 2020
Aspects of Sculpture: the Paul Magriel Collection, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York, July 28-September 15, 1985, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, September 22-October 27, 1985, Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, November 7-December 15, 1985, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania, December 21, 1985-February 16, 1986, no. 58.
Emulating Antiquity: Nineteenth-century European Sculpture, Engles Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-February 16, 2020.
Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 16, 1992-June 10, 1995.
Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 3, 1999 - January 14, 2008.
Representing Myth: The Classical Tradition in Western Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 11-August 17, 1995.
The Romantics to Rodin, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1980, no. 130.
Peter Fusco and H. W. Janson, THe Romantics to Rodin, French Nineteenth-Century Sculpture from North American Collections, Los Angeles County Museum of Art in association with George Braziller, Inc., 1980, no. 130.
John T. Spike, Aspects of Sculpture: the Paul Magriel Collection, Florence, Italy: Artigraf, 1985, p. 69, no. 58.
James Holderbaum (1920-2011), date unknown; Paul Magriel (1906-1990), date unknown; Jane (1922-2007) and W. David Dance (1917-2012), date unknown; given to present collection, 1986.
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