Nicolas Poussin (Les Andelys, 1594 – Rome, 1665) stayed in Lyon before returning to Italy in 1624. An early work, when the artist was thirty years old, Diana Killing Chione was probably commissioned by Father Bernardin, Silvio I (1613–1686), during his time in Lyon. In 1691, the picture belonged to the distinguished Reynons family of Lyon, who were silk weavers originating from Milan. It can thus be considered not only one of the painter’s rare works before his recognition in Rome, but also a work he created while in Lyon.
Chione was so beautiful that Apollo and Mercury fell in love with her. The foolish pride of the girl who boasted of having more charms than Diana earned her harsh punishment by the furious goddess. Diana prevented her from ever repeating such words by piercing her tongue with an arrow, causing her agony.
The work proves that Poussin was already the great painter that his time in Italy would later confirm. Seven years before his death, he painted The Flight into Egypt, a canvas acquired by the museum in 2008 as part of an exceptional company sponsorship operation. At the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, "Diana Killing Chione" is part of brilliant artistic ensemble that includes Simon Vouet, Eustache Le Sueur, Philippe de Champaigne, and Charles Le Brun. A unique public collection, it offers visitors a glimpse into the early career of one of the greatest names in the French school, through a work in which his capacity for invention and passionate expression is already striking.