Andries Cornelis Lens – Diana en Actaeon –
The myth of Diana and Actaeon can be found within Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The tale recounts the unfortunate fate of a young hunter named Actaeon, who was a grandson of Cadmus, and his encounter with chaste Artemis, known to the Romans as Diana, goddess of the hunt. The latter is nude and enjoying a bath in a spring with help from her escort of nymphs when the mortal man unwittingly stumbles upon the scene. The nymphs scream in surprise and attempt to cover Diana, who, in a fit of embarrassed fury, splashes water upon Actaeon. He is transformed into a deer with a dappled hide and long antlers, robbed of his ability to speak, and thereafter promptly flees in fear. It is not long, however, before his own hounds track him down and kill him, failing to recognize their master.
Andries Cornelis Lens or André Corneile Lens (Antwerp, 31 March 1739 – Brussels, 30 March 1822) was a Flemish painter, illustrator, art theoretician and art educator. He is known for his history paintings of biblical and mythological subjects and portraits. Wishing to contribute to the revival of painting in Flanders, he took his inspiration from the classical traditions of the 16th century and drew inspiration from Raphael. He was thus a promotor of Neoclassicism in Flemish art. He was a teacher and director of the Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp. Lens was court painter to the governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands and settled in Brussels where he married.