Diana or Christ?
This painting is called Diana or Christ? and is currently hanging at the Art Gallery in Blackburn. It was painted by Edwin Long. It shows a scene in ancient Ephesus in which a young woman is required to choose between Diana or the Lord Jesus Christ. Diana, or Artemis as the Greeks called her, was the city's patron god. Anyone who did not worship her was seen as being disloyal and thought to be a danger to the well-being of the polis. On the left one can see an idol of the goddess and a group of people crowding around a young woman, pressuring her to abandon Christ and yield to her former mistress.
Seated on the left of the picture is a man of authority, perhaps the city magistrate who will punish the woman if she does not resume the worship of the goddess. Diana is no longer worshipped in modern Europe but day after day, every Christian is required to make the choice between Christ and the idols of this world. Making a stand for Christ and going against the flow is often difficult and seldom popular but we are called to do it: Diana or Christ?
Edwin Long painted the picture in 1881 and could not resist the temptation to give the gentleman on the lady's right a nice late Victorian moustache.