Jun 1, 2023

Jupiter (in the guise of Diana) and Callisto

Jupiter (in the guise of Diana) and Callisto


Jacob de Wit

(Dutch, 1695–1754)

Black chalk, pen and ink, brown and gray wash, watercolor, gouache, white heightening and brown ink framing lines

Sheet: 44.5 x 30.8 cm (17 1/2 x 12 1/8 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2023.45


Did you know?

The elegant hunting dogs in this composition appear in the background in a faint vignette that features Diana hunting a deer with a bow and arrow.


The beautiful Callisto was a follower of the goddess Diana. According to Ovid’s Metamorphosis, she was seduced by Jupiter, who fooled her by appearing in the guise of Diana. Here, the eagle at Diana’s back is the only indicator that Jupiter is present. Such scenes of the loves and misdeeds of the gods were popular in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 1700s, and Jacob De Wit’s primary employment was making large paintings destined for the dining and sitting rooms of stately homes. De Wit also made finished drawings, as here, which were prized for their fresh colors, easy movements, and playfulness.

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