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François Lemoyne (1688 -1737)
Diana returning from the hunt, or The Evening
Oil on canvas
H : 168 cm ; W : 113,5 cm
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Diana Returning from the Hunt, 1729, by François Lemoyne is one of four overdoor paintings which adorned the central drawing room of the Hôtel Biron built for Abraham Peyrenc de Moras by Jean Aubert. But in 1820, the Hôtel Biron underwent a dramatic transformation after the estate was purchased by the nuns of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who sold the decorative elements for both financial and moral reasons.
In this painting, Diana, seated on the right, turns towards three other women, her hunting companions, who are showing her a dead doe. Diana points her right finger at their prize; the anxious faces of the young nymphs might indicate that the goddess disapproves of their act, for they have just killed a doe instead of a stag.
This major acquisition is highly relevant to the history of the Hôtel Biron, a purchase that is part of a long and complex scheme to reconstruct the original interior decoration.