Diana and Endymion (after the painting by George Frederic Watts, R.A., H.R.C.A. 1817 - 1904). 1891. Mezzotint. Hardie 60. 17 3/4 x 22 (sheet 21 3/4 x 25). Edition 300. A rich, tonal proof printed on Japan paper. Signed in pencil by Watts and by Short.
Exhibited in the Royal Academy, 1892, Summer Exhibition, number 1477. Short created several mezzotints after paintings by Watts.
Diana kisses the sleeping Endymion; her hand embraces his head.
Watts treated the subject of 'Endymion' four times, and this print is of the first and most important version. The painting originally belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite patron William Graham. It represents the shepherd Endymion who was loved by the moon, and the classical subject is here given a strong and sculptural treatment in which both the nude male figure and the draperies of the moon goddess derive from the Elgin Marbles(now the Parthenon Marbles) in the British Museum. The sculptural qualities are emphasised in the monochromatic print.
Endymion was a beautiful youth who fed his flock on Mount Latmos. One night Diana, the moon goddess, looked down and saw him sleeping.Warmed by his beauty, she came down, kissed him, and watched over him while he slept. Jupiter bestowed on him the gift of perpetual youth united with perpetual sleep. Diana, it was said, took care that his fortunes should not suffer by his inactive life, for she made his flock increase, and guarded his sheep and lambs from the wild beasts.
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