Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Copy after Boucher's 'Diane au bain'


Variations on the title are as follows:

  • 'Diana at the Pool. Copy of a picture in the Louvre by Boucher' (1905, ISSPG). 1
  • 'Copy after Boucher's "Diane au bain" ' (1980, YMSM). 2

'Copy after Boucher's "Diane au bain" ' is the preferred title.


J. Whistler, Copy after Boucher's 'Diane au bain', repr. Pennell 1908
J. Whistler, Copy after Boucher's 'Diane au bain', repr. Pennell 1908

Whistler's painting is a copy of Diane au bain or Diana after the bath by Francois Boucher (1703-1770) (1742, 57 x 73 cm). It is known only from the photograph reproduced by the Pennells. 3

Boucher's composition is in horizontal format: to right of centre there is a nude woman seated in profile facing left, with a small crescent moon in her blonde hair. She is seated on blue, white and striped pink and grey robes spread by a river bank, her left leg resting on her right knee, holding a pearl necklace. Another nude woman crouches behind her, to left. In front of them, to left, is a stream, and by it, arrows lie in a quiver on the ground, and behind them are a couple of dogs. In the foreground at right are the birds and bunnies she has shot, slung from a stick. There are trees in the background.


Diana was the Roman goddess of animals and the hunt, identified with the Greek goddess Artemis, and thus also associated with the moon.


According to Reff, Boucher's picture was one of the most popular subjects copied in the Louvre. Edouard Manet (1832-1883), Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) and Ignace-Henri-Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) all registered to copy it, although none of their copies survives. 4


1: Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the late James McNeill Whistler, First President of The International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, New Gallery, Regent Street, London, 1905 (cat. no. 117).

2: YMSM 1980 [more] (cat. no. 20).

3: Pennell 1908 [more], vol. 1, p. 73, repr f.p. 72.

4: Reff 1964 [more], at pp. 555-58.

Last updated: 25th November 2020 by Margaret