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Wild Boar Hunt - Peter Paul Rubens. 137x168
In Rubens's works on the subject of hunting, two phases of creativity can be distinguished. The paintings of the first period, which lasted until 1620, to which the presented "Boar Hunt"are characterized by a centripetal and diagonal compositional scheme, unbridled forces act on them on both sides. Later works develop a composition characteristic of the frieze, that is, the action in them is shown in a horizontal perspective parallel to the plane of the picture. In the first case, the climax of the hunt is emphasized, when the beast is overtaken and defeated, in the second - the fishing process. And if the works of the first period demonstrate the victory of hunters over a fierce predator, then the canvases of the second - the pursuit of a defenseless animal.
The Dresden picture from the point of view of its content is much more than just a genre scene of hunting. It clearly "shines through" the ancient myth of the Caledonian hunt, the one in which Meleager with a spear kills the Caledonian boar (this myth is set forth in Philostratus the Younger in chapter 15 of his "Pictures"). All the participants of the story are depicted here: a boar is standing under a tree in a dense ring of hunters and maliciously barking dogs. Atalanta had just fired her arrow; Meleager's spear pierces the beast. Near the boar lies a dead man. This theme is used by many Flemish artists for paintings representing the hunt against the backdrop of a forest landscape.