Artist: Frederick William MacMonnies (American, New York 1863–1937 New York)
Date: 1888–89; cast 1890
Dimensions: 30 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in. (78.1 x 31.1 x 31.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Edward D. Adams, 1927
Accession Number: 27.21.9
While a student in Alexandre Falguière's atelier at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, MacMonnies began modeling his first lifesize figure depicting Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt and personification of the moon. Diana quickly earned a reputation as MacMonnies' first significant sculpture, establishing his career both at home and abroad. The lifesize plaster cast, displayed at the Paris Salon of 1889, received an honorable mention. As a sculptural theme in nineteenth-century France, Diana had a distinguished history, with which MacMonnies was certainly familiar. Although indebted to the examples of his master, MacMonnies' interpretation of Diana was independent and original, announcing his transition from student to professional artist. He outfitted his figure with traditional symbols—a crescent moon in her hair and a bow in her left hand; MacMonnies did not produce a perfect classical goddess but instead created a naturalistic nude, modeled from the face and form of a living woman. He began producing reductions of his large-scale Diana in 1890. Diana statuettes were cast in Paris and New York and exist in two heights: about 30 1/2 inches and about 18 1/2 inches.