Diana was the first independent work that MacMonnies created in Paris, where he studied under the sculptor Jean-Alexandre-Joseph Falguiére at the École des Beaux-Arts. A life size plaster of the piece was exhibited at the 1889 Paris Salon. The following year he executed the sculpture in bronze, and it achieved immediate commercial success. The work depicts Diana, the goddess of the hunt and of the moon (indicated by her attribute, the crescent). The design is indebted to Falguiére's Diana (1882) and A Hunting Nymph (1884). The Academy's cast is the only silvered version known to exist.