The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar, suiveur de Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish Baroque Old Master oil on original canvas, c. 1630 The Calydonian Boar Hunt was painted by Rubens in 1611 or 1612. It was painted when the artist was in his mid-30s, having just returned to his native Antwerp after eight years in Italy. Rubens repeatedly painted the boar-hunting scene, which is an episode drawn from the poetry of Ovid. A version on wooden panel, currently owned by the Getty Museum appears to be the artist's first oil work on the subject. A study for Meleager and Atalanta and the Hunt of the Calydonian Boar, circa 1616-1620 is on display in Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum. Meleager was the son of the King Oeneus and Queen Althea of Calydon. It seems that Oeneus failed to honor Diana, the goddess of the hunt. Diana, indignant at this neglect, sent an enormous savage boar to lay wast the fields of Calydon. The surrounding corn, vine and olive trees were laid waste. The flocks and herds were driven in wild confusion by the slavering monster. All aid appeared in vain. Finally, Meleager summoned many of the heroes of ancient Greece to join him in a glorious hunt for the ravenous beast. Among the hunting party were found many of the Argonauts, Jason, Peleus, the father of Achilles, Telamon the father of Ajax, Theseus, Nestor, Laertes, Nestor and many more. Meleager, of course, led the hunting party, and was also joined by Atalanta, the lovely daughter of Iasus, King of Arcadia. A buckle of polished gold confined her vest, an ivory quiver hung on her left shoulder, and her left hand held her bow. Her face blended feminine beauty with the best graces of martial youth. Upon their meeting, Meleager immediately fell in love. The hunt lasted a full six days. The interested reader would do well to consult Bullfinch’s Mythology for an more exhaustive rendering of the tale. Suffice it to say, Atalanta was the first to draw blood; she wounded the Calydonian Boar with a well-shot arrow. Meleager eventually dispatched the beast with his spear, but not until several of the heroes, including Anaeus, were slain during the hunt. As described in Ovid's Metamorphoses, "The boar was furiously twisting its body round and round, its jaws slavering with foam and fresh blood... the hero who had dealt the wound came up close to the animal and roused his foe to fury, before finally burying his shining spear in its shoulder." (Spoiler alert: The mother of Meleager, distraught at the death of her brothers by the hand of Meleager, personally brought about the death of her own son, Meleager) Atalanta henceforth shunned the company of men, and devoted herself to the sports of the chase. Our version of this epic tale was painted circa 1630, by a Flemish Old Master. In the accepted parlance of the art world, art historians define “suiveur de” ("follower of”) as "In our opinion a work by a hand closely associated with a named artist, but not necessarily his pupil.” I have been unable to locate a signature on The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar. Hence I offer the painting as "Suiveur de Peter Paul Rubens." Ancient red wax gallery seal on verso. Provenance - Private collection, Paris, France The name of Peter Paul Rubens needs no introduction. Rubens is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens' highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history. His unique and immensely popular Baroque style emphasized movement, color, and sensuality, which followed the immediate, dramatic artistic style promoted in the Counter-Reformation. Rubens specialized in making altarpieces, portraits, landscapes, and history paintings of mythological subjects, as seen here in today's painting, The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar. Clearly the prices achieved for paintings by Peter Paul Rubens have reached stratospheric heights, well into the millions of dollars. Paintings categorized as "Workshop of" Rubens, "Circle of" Rubens, or even "School of" Rubens have sold at staggering prices. The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar measures 39 1/2 inches x 27 inches framed and 38 inches x 32 1/2 inches unframed. The original French Empire Époch double gorged antique gilt frame is itself an item of great beauty, featuring rais de coeurs (heart-shaped leaves) alternating with spearheads and palmettes. The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar is a most striking and impressive Old Master oil painting. Despite the great age and beauty of The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar, the price of acquisition is quite modest. Please write with any questions or comments regarding The Hunting of the Calydonian Boar, and please visit my site at johnbluebottlefineart I offer a large selection of original antique oil paintings, in all price ranges. John Bluebottle Fine Art specializes in antique oil paintings of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, with an emphasis on Barbizon, Realist and French Academic artists. I also incorporate a major focus on Old Master and Orientalist art. .
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