School of Cornelis van Poelenburgh
Diana and Callisto
Oil on canvas
25 7/8 x 32 inches (65.7 x 81.3 cm)
The nymph Callisto was one of the followers of the goddess Diana, roaming the woods with her and sworn to remain a virgin. Jupiter, falling in love with Callisto, assumed the shape of the goddess to approach her and, ultimately, seduce her. When Callisto was discovered to be pregnant, Diana expelled her from her retinue, and Jupiter's angry wife Juno transformed her into a bear. Later, when Callisto was about to be killed by her son Arcas, who was out hunting, Jupiter placed her in the sky as the constellation Ursa Major.
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