A melancholy, shadowed picture, the only one of Vermeer showing classical mythology, with this theme
from Ovid's Metamorphoses. Diana, with the crescent moon on her head, is considered the embodiment
of chastity, and the bathing goddess scene is thought to show this virgin purity and morality. Two
companions wash Diana's feet while another looks on, and a fourth has her back to us, looking into the
distance. In the mythology, after the moment depicted here, a prince out hunting, Actaeon, stumbles upon the
naked Diana. He is turned into a stag and devoured by dogs; the thistle and dog at lower left represent the impending arrival and devouring.