Unusually for the teste di carattere, this drawing is of a mythological figure, Diana, goddess of the hunt. Piazzetta places the figure in a shallow pictorial space and, despite the close-up view, manages to depict all of the goddess’s essential attributes. She is shown with her bow and arrows, and her association with night is made explicit by a crescent moon, worn as a crown in her hair. Piazzetta harnesses his great technical skill to convey Diana’s other attribute – her beauty. By contrasting ribbons and fabric with the expanse of Diana’s bosom, he evokes the warmth of her proximity. Her averted gaze and slight smile contribute to the drawing’s light sensuality, as does the expressiveness of her hand, which elegantly holds her bow.
Diana is one of only two known dated works in the teste di carattere series, which indicates that it was particularly significant for Piazzetta. His work is also represented in the National Gallery of Victoria by two additional portraits, of his wife Rosa and son Giacomo.
Text by Maria Zagala from Prints and Drawings in the International Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2003, p. 64.