In his "Diana and Callisto", Massimiliano Soldani Benzi explores a typical Baroque theme in that it captures the moment of a crucial discovery: Diana, the chaste goddess of hunting, notices that one of her companions, all sworn to chastity, is pregnant. Callisto had allowed herself to be seduced by Zeus. The goddess sees this as treachery, and disowns Callisto. Half-naked and bewildered, she attempts to conceal what has long since been revealed. Another companion is clearly very curious and wants to assure herself that the reproof is justified, and tries to push away the arm that Callisto has placed protectingly over her stomach. Yet another companion realizes the seriousness of the situation: she raises her hand on Callisto’s behalf to fend off the devastating judgement pronounced by Diana. This revelation of a secret is strikingly underlined by Diana herself as she lifts her own veil. By pointing conspicuously, she exposes Callisto’s nakedness all the more vividly. Soldani Benzi has skilfully captured the narrative context of this particular moment.
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Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi
Diana and Callisto, c. 1695/1700
Bronze with dark-brown lacquer patina
height 41 cm
Inv.-No. SK910
Provenance: 1702 offered to Prince Johann Adam Andreas I von Liechtenstein with the "Judgement of Paris" (SK 911) by Soldani Benzi, but not bought; 2002 acquired by Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein at auction at Christie’s in London
Further works on display
Dancing Faun, 1695/1697
Medici Venus, c. 1699/1702
Bust of Anima Dannata, 1705/1707
The Judgement of Paris, 1695/1700
Bust of Cicero, 1695
Bust of Agrippa, 1695
Bust of Faustina the Elder, 1695
Bust of Vitellius, 1695
Bust of Augustus, 1695
Bust of Faustina the Younger, 1695
Bust of Hadrian, 1695
Bust of Seneca, 1695
Bacchanalia, 1695/1697
Child Bacchante, Clipping Cupid’s Wings, 1695
Time reveals the Truth, 1695/1697
Peace embraces Justice, 1694
The Triumph of Virtue over Vice, c. 1701/1706
Christ on the Mount of Olives, c. 1722
Bust of Marcus Aurelius as a Boy, 1707/1712
Bacchus, 1699/1701
Bust of the Anima Beata, 1705/1707
Deposition, 1710/25
Venus plucking the wings of Cupid, c. 1718/1719
Related themes
Bronzes from the Collections of the Prince von und zu Liechtenstein
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