As the Albano lake and Monte Cavo were linked to the sun and to Jupiter, lake Nemi was related to the moon and to the triple goddess Diana. Still now during the summer, the full moon as seen from the town of Nemi is reflected in the lake, and about an hour later in the Tyrrhenian sea (that is the moon three times !).
During the “wake” of 21 august 2002, we observed that around 4.0 h. am, the image of the moon reflected in the water started to be visible close to Diana’s temple along the lake, under the steep wall of the town of Nemi. From that point on, the reflection has crossed the water in about an hour, reaching the opposite shore in a point below the town of Genzano. That night the clouds have hampered the observation of the moon reflected in the sea.
Two painting of the Lake Nemi, one with the crescent moon reflected in the lake, the second with the sun reflected in the lake and the sea.
“Verde e violaceo, cupo, muto, in mezzo al grande stormire dei boschi […] Secondo le vicende della luce, il lago varia. Il suo verde si fa talvolta splendido e limpido come lo smeraldo; il suo violaceo si fa oscuro e vellutato come la foglia della viola tricolore”
G. D’Annunzio, Taccuini, 1897.
Lake Nemi (1856-57), a work that Gifford painted for exhibit in New York while in Italy, is the first of his paintings to have the sun as a focal point of the painting using light and tone to unifying and simply the landscape. This was to become a trademark of his work. We can trace his fascination with the transfiguring effects of light on the natural landscape throughout the exhibits in such works as ‘A Gorge in the Mountains’ (1859) ‘Mansfield Mountain’ (1859) and ‘The Wilderness’ (1860).
Diana’s temple on Google Maps
See also the page on Alba Longa.