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Gallery Text

In the early 19th century, American artists joined their British counterparts and embarked on the Grand Tour. Washington Allston traveled to Europe upon his graduation from Harvard in 1800, and completed this large and ambitious work while in Rome in 1805. Loosely modeled on an alpine vista that Allston sketched while traveling from France to Italy, "Diana on a Chase" is evocative of the classical landscapes of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin. At right, the Roman goddess of the hunt and her companions wander through the vast mountainous scene.

Publicly exhibited in Rome, "Diana on a Chase" received glowing reviews and impressed Allston’s Romantically-minded contemporaries, including poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The artist’s pride in the work was short-lived, however: in 1839, Allston disavowed authorship of the painting, claiming that an aggressive cleaning had ruined his original conception.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Washington Allston, American (Georgetown, SC 1779 - 1843 Cambridge, MA)
Diana on a Chase
Other Titles
Former Title: Landscape, Diana on a Chase
Former Title: Diana in the Chase
Former Title: Diana and Her Nymphs in the Chase
Former Title: Swiss Scenery
Former Title: Alpine Scenery
Work Type
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, The Arts in the Eighteenth–Century Atlantic World
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
163.8 x 241.3 cm (64 1/2 x 95 in.)
framed: 206.4 x 285.8 x 12.7 cm (81 1/4 x 112 1/2 x 5 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: W. Allston Pinx. Roma
Loammi Baldwin, 1832; Isaac Davis, 1843; Mrs. Algernon Coolidge, Boston, MA, 1947; to her daughter, Mrs. Edward W. Moore, Cambridge, MA, 1956; her gift to the Fogg Art Museum, 1956.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Edward W. Moore
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Jules David Prown and Barbara Rose, American Painting: From the Colonial Period to the Present, Skira Rizzoli (New York), p.

Sixth Exhibition of Paintings in the Athenaeum Gallery, exh. cat., Boston Athenaeum (Boston, MA, 1832)

Moses Foster Sweetser, Allston (Boston, MA, 1879), p. 72

"McMaster's History of the People of the United States", The Dial (April 1883), vol. III, no. 36, pp. 270-272, p. 271

Jared B. Flagg, The Life and Letters of Washington Allston, Charles Scribner's Sons (New York, NY, 1892), p. 145

James Thrall Soby and Dorothy C. Miller, Romantic Painting in America, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1943), pp. 13, 52-53, cat. 3, ill. p. 52

Kathleen Coburn, "Notes on Washington Allston, from the Unpublished Notebooks of S. T. Coleridge", Gazette des Beaux-Arts (April 1944), vol. XXV, no. 926, pp. 249-252, ill. p. 251, fig. 2

Edgar P. Richardson, American Romantic Painting, ed. Robert Freund, E. Weyhe (New York, NY, 1944), p. 23, no. 14, ill.

Edgar P. Richardson, Washington Allston, 1779-1843, a loan exhibition of paintings, drawings and memorabilia, exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, MI, 1947), no. 7, ill. p. 16

Elizabeth H. Jones, "Washington Allston's Painting Technique and His Place in the Coloristic Tradition" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, May 1947), Unpublished, pp. 1-17 passim

Edgar P. Richardson, Washington Allston: A Study of the Romantic Artist in America, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL, 1948), pp. 69-70, 74, 118, 177, 190, no. 37, pl. IX

Anna Wells Rutledge, Cumulative Record of Exhibition Catalogues: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1807-1870; The Society of Artists, 1800-1814; The Artists’ Fund Society, 1835-1845. (Philadelphia, PA, 1955), p. 15, no. 20

Thomas W. Leavitt, "Washington Allston at Harvard", Harvard Alumni Bulletin (Cambridge, MA, April 21, 1956), vol. 58, no. 13, p. 551

Benjamin Rowland, "'Diana in the Chase' by Washington Allston", Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1955-56, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1957), pp. 48, 61, ill p. 49

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Volume 2, 1804-1808, ed. Kathleen Coburn, Pantheon Books (New York, NY, 1957), pp. ix, 2830-2834, ill. fig. v

William H. Gerdts, "Washington Allston and the German Romantic Classicists in Rome", The Art Quarterly (Summer 1969), vol. XXXII, no. 2, pp. 167-196, pp. 170, 173,184, 188, fig. 4

Louise Todd Ambler and Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, "American Painting at Harvard", Antiques (New York, NY, November 1972), vol. 102, no. 5, pp. 876-883, p. 879, pl. III

Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 30, ill.

Elizabeth Johns, "Washington Allston: The Artist as Philospher.", The Paintings of Washington Allston, Lowe Art Gallery (Miami, FL, 1975), pp. 14-15

Elizabeth Johns, "Washington Allston's Library", The American Art Journal (November 1975), vol. VII, no. 2, pp. 32-41, pp. 32, 34, fig. 2

The Paintings of Washington Allston, exh. cat., Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL, 1975), pp. 9, 15, 19

John Wilmerding, American Art, Penguin Books (New York, 1976), p. 65, pl. 70

Elizabeth Johns, "Washington Allston: Method, Imagination and Reality", Winterthur Portfolio (Wilmington, DE, 1977), vol. 12, pp. 1-18, pp. 1, 14

John Wilmerding, "Harvard and American Art", Apollo (June 1978), vol. CVII, no. 196, pp. 490-495, p. 491, pl. XXII

William H. Gerdts and Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., "A Man of Genius": The Art of Washington Allston (1779-1843), exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1979), pp. 39, 43, 46, 157, ill. p. 36, cat. 11

Elizabeth Johns, "Washington Allston and Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Remarkable Relationship", Archives of American Art Journal (1979), vol. 19 no. 3, ill. p. 2

Joshua C. Taylor, The Fine Arts in America, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL, 1979), p. 57, ill.

Carol Troyen, The Boston Tradition: American Paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exh. cat., American Federation of Arts (New York, NY, 1980), p. 14

Bryan Jay Wolf, Romantic Re-Vision: Culture and Consciousness in Nineteenth-Century American Painting and Literature, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL and London, England, 1982), pp. 62-64, fig. 19

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Carol Troyen, and Trevor J. Fairbrother, A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1760-1910, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1983), p. 214, 215

Sona K. Johnston, American Paintings 1750-1900 from the Collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD, 1983), p. 19

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), p. 184, cat. 209, ill.

Marcia Briggs Wallace, "Washington Allston's Moonlit Landscape", ed. Irma B. Jaffe, Fordham University Press (New York, 1989), pp. 89-92, fig. 45, fig. 46 det

Elinor S. Shaffer, "Illusion and Imagination: Derrida's Parergon and Coleridge's Aid to Reflection. Revisionary Readings of Kantian Formalist Aesthetics", Aesthetic Illusion: Theoretical and Historical Approaches, ed. Frederick Burwick and Walter Pape, Walter de Gruyter and Co. (Berlin and New York, 1990), pp. 138-157, pp. 152-155, fig. 17

Kathleen Nicholson, Turner's Classical Landscapes: Myth and Meaning, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ, 1990), pp. 24-26, fig. 19

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., William H. Gerdts, Erica E. Hirshler, Fred Licht, and William L. Vance, The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Boston, MA and New York, NY, 1992), pp. 172-174, cat. 10, ill.

Nathalia Wright, ed., The Correspondence of Washington Allston, The University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY, 1993), pp. 40, 43-44, 56, 59, 65, 69, 74-75, 83, 98-99, 131, 133-34, 538, 545, 559, 576, 614

Wayne Craven, American Art: History and Culture, Brown & Benchmark Publishers (Madison, WI, 1994), p. 148

Jane Turner, The Encyclopedia of American Art before 1914, Macmillan Publishers Limited (London, England, 2000), pp. 8-9, ill p. 9

Andrew Wilton and Tim Barringer, American Sublime: Landscape Painting in the United States, 1820-1880, exh. cat., Tate Gallery Publishing Limited (London and Princeton, NJ, 2002), p. 20, fig. 8

Gurion Taussig, Coleridge and the Idea of Friendship, 1789-1804, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE, 2002), pp. 316-317

Erica E. Hirshler, "Pittori americani dell'Ottocento nella 'Grande Universita d'Arte' italiana", exh. cat., Linea d'Ombra (2008), p. 163, ill. opp. p. 159

Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), ill. p. 138

Morton D. Paley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Fine Arts, Oxford University Press (UK) (Oxford, UK, 2008), pp. 39-42, 107, fig. 7

Stefano Susinno, L'Ottocento a Roma: Artisti, cantieri, atelier tra eta napoleonica e Restaurazione, Silvana Editoriale (Milan, 2009), pp. 205-207, fig. 86

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 33, 54-55, cat. 12, ill.

Exhibition History

[Washington Allston exhibition], Merchant Tailors' Hall, Bristol, 07/01/1814 - 07/31/1814

Seventh Annual Exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 05/01/1818 - 05/31/1818

Sixth Exhibition of Paintings in the Athenaeum Gallery, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1832 - 12/31/1832

Romantic Painting in America, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 01/01/1943 - 12/31/1943

Washington Allston, 1779-1843: A Loan Exhibition of Paintings, Drawings and Memorabilia, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, 05/11/1947 - 06/15/1947; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 07/17/1947 - 08/24/1947

American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972

Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977

"A Man of Genius": The Art of Washington Allston (1779-1843), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 12/12/1979 - 02/03/1980; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 02/28/1980 - 04/27/1980

The Lure of Italy: American Artists and the Italian Experience, 1760-1914, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 09/16/1992 - 12/13/1992; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 02/03/1993 - 04/11/1993; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 05/16/1993 - 08/08/1993

Re-View: S424-426 Western Art from 1560 to 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/16/2008 - 06/18/2011

32Q: 2240 18th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/15/2016 - 01/01/2050

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