"Diana and Endymion" 1675-1680
Oil on Canvas
National Gallery Of Art 1991.20.1
In this painting there are two figures. Diana is floating above Endymion while he is sleeping. Endymions dogs are watching at his feet. Diana, Endymion and one of his dogs are in the center of the painting. It seems most of the focus is on Endymion because his whole body is visible and in the light. Diana's upper body can be seen but her lower half is faded out to black. The other dog is in the bottom left corner. It is very dark so you can only see his head, mostly his eyes and nose. The lines of Endymions staff, left forearm right leg and Diana's right forearm all lead the viewer from various points at the edge of the painting to their two heads. That is the cornerstone of the story. Endymion is lying on the ground asleep propped up against a boulder. His two dogs are at his feet both are sitting up. It appears that Diana is coming down to him from out of the sky. The position of her head and shoulders make her look as if she is floating because I think it would be hard to stand in such a way. The figures take up most of the painting leaving little room for the background. The painting is deep. It looks like it goes back about 100 feet because you can not see anything past the tree behind Diana and Endymion. The artist gives the impression of the depth most obviously in the relationship of the scale of the figures to the scale of the tree. Diana and Endymion are much larger than the tree making it appear far away. While there is some background most of the action is taking place close to the viewer. Luca Giordano also uses other forms of perspective like layering. An example of layering in this painting would be, Endymions staff is in front of him, he is in front of the dogs and the dogs are in front of Diana. He also uses atmospheric perspective. This is best shown in the blurryness of the background. There is high contrast...