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Diana Discovering the Pregnancy of Callisto

This print shows the goddess Diana (on the left) as a beautiful, but cruel, deity wreaking revenge on an innocent victim. Based on a passage from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Callisto, a member of Diana’s entourage, is impregnated by Jupiter, who appears to her disguised as the goddess. When Callisto refuses to bathe, Diana has her stripped and discovers the secret.

Engraved while Cort was in Venice to study with Titian in 1565–66, the print copies (in reverse) the master’s painting of the same subject, now in the National Gallery of Scotland. Although Cort’s prints helped to spread Titian’s classical motifs, he often made changes. In this case, a background fountain is switched to a statue of a goddess-huntress, perhaps Diana (or Callisto, who shared many of the same attributes).

Cornelis Cort
North Netherlandish, 1533–before 1578
after Titian
Italian, ca. 1488–1576
Diana Discovering the Pregnancy of Callisto
1566
Engraving on paper
Image/sheet: 17 3/16 x 14 5/16 in. (43.7 x 36.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Collection of Diether Thimme, 98.257