Artemis' Bath

François Boucher--Diana Leaving Her Bath

One bright and sunny day a youth named Actaeon decided to hunt a stag with the pack of 50 hounds that he had recieved from his father. The hunt was going well, but before too long, young Actaeon heard laughter and splashing coming from a grove of trees. Curious as to what was making the sounds, Actaeon pushed aside the branches of a tree and gasped as he saw several beautiful and naked young women bathing in a spring. Blushing, Actaeon turned away, but not before one of the young nymphs spotted him. Crying out in alarm, the women quickly moved to cover themselves and the goddess that was bathing with them, the goddess Artemis. Artemis was angry that the youn man had seen her, the virgin goddess of the hunt, naked, and in anger she enraged his hounds, who hunted him and tore him to pieces. Confused without Actaeon to lead them, the hounds searched for their master, unaware that they had just devoured him. The forest rang with their cries and bays. Unable to sleep, the townspeople asked Cheiron, Actaeon's former teacher, to erect a statue to the boy in a cave so that the hounds might gather there, thinking the statue was the master. The rouse worked, and the hounds calmed down enough for the townspeople to once again sleep at night.

The painting is "Diana Leaving Her Bath" by François Boucher. More information on François Boucher can be found in the Senior Humanities section.
Back to Stories Index