René Ménard (French, 1862–1930)
The Bath of Diana, ca. 1920
Oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 48 1/2 in.
Ménard aspired to paint in the revived classical style of the 1890s and, although he initially chose his subjects from the Bible and mythology, he soon reverted to depicting more generic visions of an idyllic Arcadia. Ménard attempted to convey the characteristics of the Golden Age of Greek civilization by representing statuesque male and female nudes in serene landscapes. He was deeply interested in the appearance and effects of nature, and many of his works include a pond or river, enabling him to depict bathing figures and to suggest the reflections of trees, clouds, and the setting sun. Ménard’s oeuvre is a good example of how the classical vocabulary continued to inspire artists well into the 20th century, and how such works form a bridge from Neoclassicism to the Symbolist movement.