Selene and Endymion

Stefano Torelli

  • Selene and Endymion 2
  • Selene and Endymion 3
Basic information
Stefano Torelli
Selene and Endymion
Date of creation
18th c.
oil painting
canvas oil
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
105 x 85
Information about author
Stefano Torelli
Artist's lifetime
Stefano Torelli began his painting career in Bologna. Later, the artist moved to Venice, where he created easel paintings and large-scale frescoes. In the 1750s, Stefano Torelli relocated to Dresden at the invitation of Elector Frederick Augustus II, where he worked primarily in monumental painting and portraiture. The master arrived in St. Petersburg in 1762, where he was appointed a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and remained there until the end of his life.
Object description
The plot of the painting is based on Ovid's "The Art of Love". It describes how Diana visited the shepherd Endymion every night when he was sleeping. The goddess deliberately put him to sleep so she could enjoy herself with him. The picture represents a sleeping Endymion and Diana, who has descended on a cloud to visit him. She delicately touches him with her hand. Two dogs accompanying the goddess, and three cupids personifying the love content of the plot, are shown on the side. The myth, depicted on the canvas, became important in 18th-century painting due to its popularisation in literary and theatrical subjects by the Academy of Arcadia's members, particularly Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni.