The auction has been closed.
76 x 85 cm / 30" x 34"
97 x 106 cm / 38” x 42"
Oil on board
Signed lower right
A Private Collection, New York
Undeniably one of Ross Watson's most detailed paintings, requiring no less than two months continual work, this exceptional and large scale painting references Diana and Cupid by Pompeo Batoni, and features Bel Ami’s popular and handsome Dolph Lambert.
One of the most successful painters in 18th Century Rome, Batoni, like Watson, catered mostly for a foreign audience. He painted the work in 1761, which captured Watson’s attention on one of his visits to the Metropolitan Museum, and shows Diana the goddess of the hunt withholding the bow from Cupid. Cupid is normally depicted with Venus the goddess of love, though here it is Diana who is also the goddess of chastity and the moon who playfully chastises him for using a hunting weapon to instill love.
Watson’s masterful incorporation of Lambert within the composition creates an arching visual curve above the group, between Cupid and the bow, which introduces a curious ambiguity as to the target of Cupid's reaching. Given Watson never alters the proportions, or re-arranges figures within a classical artwork he is referencing, it is striking to to observe the seated dog looking longingly up to Lambert, whose luminous peaches and cream complexion compliments those of Diana and Cupid.
Diana and Cupid was painted for Sir Humphrey Morice (1723–1785), son of a wealthy merchant and director of the Bank of England. Morice was a great animal lover and commissioned from Batoni a portrait of himself reclining in the Roman countryside after the hunt as a pendant to this canvas, which although full of extraordinary warmth and feeling, the figure of Diana is based on a celebrated ancient statue of the sleeping Ariadne in the Vatican.
Complete with exquisitely painted details, including the dozens of coloured feathers in Cupid’s wings, this fine trophy painting is set to be an important centre-piece in Watson’s New York exhibition this June.
Available as a Limited Edition Canvas and Limited Edition Print
"I have been a proud collector of Ross' paintings for many years. His art is astounding in its beauty, emotion, and reverence for our humanity and the world we live in. His attention to the smallest details, and use of light, dark and colour, rivals art's greatest masters."
James J. O'Donnell, Patron, art collector, NYC
"We are loving our new acquisition and we know that 'Nathan, view to Florence' will bring us endless years of joy. Thanks for sharing your talent. We love your work so keep it up!"
Paul Zahra and Duncan Peerman, Sydney
"As avid art collectors we are very proud to have Ross' stunningly handsome work in our collection. His art brings us great joy and we love to share his work with our friends and visitors. We were absolutely thrilled to recently add 'Two Soldiers' to our collection."
Christopher Cosier & Chris Webber, Sydney
"I purchased the original painting 10 years ago at your gallery during Mardi Gras and it has given me enormous pleasure ever since. I remember standing in the gallery for a couple of hours wondering if I should buy it. I have never regretted that decision."
Jon Anderson and Lance Johnson, Palm Springs
"Your art hanging around our home provides us with such pleasure, and we can’t wait for A-Bay to join the Ross Watson family."
Haydon Elliot and Greg Moses, Melbourne