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Jean-Victor Bertin

Forest Interior


Jean-Victor Bertin
Paris 1767 – Paris 1842


Forest Interior




Oil on canvas


82.2 x 114.5 cm


Purchase, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' Volunteer Association Fund, the Marcel Elefant Fund and the Museum Campaign 1988-1993 Fund, inv. 2006.50


Western Art

The subject of this painting was taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Returning from the hunt, the goddess Diana is preparing to bathe in the spring beside which the nymph Callisto, with child by Jupiter, sits weeping. Upon learning that Callisto is with child, Diana throws her out of her group of chaste nymphs. Jupiter’s jealous wife, Juno, later exacts revenge by turning Callisto into a bear, who roams about for years until her son, Arcas, almost accidentally kills her while on a hunt. Jupiter intervenes and sets them both among the stars as the constellation Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear), respectively. In this lush, idealized landscape, the artist uses a variety of elements – a stream, a leaning tree and jagged rocks – to create a harmonious composition.

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