Diana and Calisto by Dosso Dossi

Diana and Calisto by Dosso Dossi
Diana and Calisto by Dosso Dossi

The Italian artist Dosso Dossi (c. 1490 – 1542) was a painter born in the city of Ferrara, and who worked at the time of the Renaissance . But within that artistic period and its different currents, he chose to follow the more romanist style of the greatRafael. And an example of this is this painting that he made around the year 1528 and that today is part of the collection of theBorghese Gallery in Rome


Diana and Calisto by Dosso Dossi

Here we are presented with a scene of clear mythological inspiration. The theme is the moment in which the goddess of the hunt, Diana, decides to abandon her lover, the nymph Calisto. And the reason is that she just found out that the nymph is pregnant, and her father is none other than the almighty Jupiter.

In other words, what the author intends to tell us about is an allegory about constancy in love, which is irremediably linked to fidelity.

But for this he uses an image that is a hodgepodge of different genres. On the one hand, the importance of the mythological themes so common in the Renaissance arts is clear, since they take us back to the Antiquity of classical cultures.

But besides that we can also consider the painting a nude and of course also a landscape. It is true that the figures are more important than the landscape, but that does not prevent it from being a key element. It's an environmentnatural with the appearance of a forest and where the riverbed runs. And we must not forget that the nymphs were always related to the waters and the forests.

But to balance the scene, which has an enormous weight with the figures in the foreground from the center to the right in the lowest part of the canvas, the artist has managed to place in the background, and in the fourth upper left, views of a city. A city that, given its imprecise nature, we cannot recognize, but that pictorially serves as a spatial and luminous counterweight to the painting.

Undoubtedly, the entire landscape, both urban and natural, are stereotypes and idealization, something absolutely common among Renaissance painterss, from the Venetian Giorgione with his charismatic work of The Tempest, to Leonardo da Vinci, whose most famous canvases such as La Gioconda or the Virgin of the Rocks are set in artificial landscapes created in the artist's imagination to help the expression of his work. Something that Dosso Dossi's most admired painter also resorted to, Rafael Sanzio himself, who devised artificial landscapes for works such as El Parnaso.

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