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Apollo and Diana Punishing Niobe by Killing her Children

The story of Niobe is related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Canto 6, 146-312):

Niobe was the daughter of the proud King Tantalus of Phrygia. She married Amphion, the king of Thebes, and bore him seven sons and seven daughters. She bragged of her many children and chided the goddess Latona, mother of the twins Apollo and Diana, for having only two. In vengeance, Apollo and Diana carried out a massacre. They are shown in the clouds showering arrows down onto Niobe’s children.

Abraham Bloemaert’s style of painting suits the drama of the tale, full of contrasting shifts between colours, light, and shade as well as complicated poses with bodies viewed from extreme angles.
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Denmark
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