21. Diana

Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Diana, 1979, bronze and gilding

Gift of Miranda and Robert Donnelley in honor of Nancy Mato, longtime Vice President and Curator of The Society of the Four Arts

Collection of The Society of the Four Arts, 2015.1


The first version, 18 feet tall, was commissioned from Saint-Gaudens by architect Stanford White in 1891 as a weather vane for the tower of Madison Square Garden, Manhattan. A second, more graceful version, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, inspired a series of half-sized casts, of which this is one. Diana's face is said to be that of Davida Johnson Clark, mother of Saint-Gaudens illegitimate son Louis. Exquisitely poised, all the lithe tension of her body would be lost if she lent only slightly back.