- Reference number
- Jordaens, Jacob (Flemish)
- Meleager and Atalanta
- 152,3 cm x 240,5 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Colección Isabel Farnesio, Palacio Real de La Granja, Segovia, dormitorio de sus Majestades, 1746, nº 2; La Granja, dormitorio, 1766, nº 2; Palacio Real de Aranjuez, Madrid, pieza de música, 1794, nº 2).
After killing the wild boar that was ravaging the kingdom of Calydon, Meleager offered its head to Atalanta, of whom he was enamored. But the hunter's uncles considered themselves the rightful recipients of that trophy. They took it from her, provoking such rage in Meleagrus that he killed them.
Jordaens places the figure in the foreground like a long running frieze. In the group on the right, Meleager's hand moves to his sword, ready to begin the attack on his own uncles, while Atalanta, with an expression of fear, tries to stop him.
On the left, the group of hunters marks the composition's rhythm. Their weapons, an arm and the movement of their dogs draw the viewer's gaze toward the main event. The two parts of the painting were made separately. First, Jordaens painted the group on the right, and their characteristics belong to his youth, when his works were dominated by forceful and monumental figures in the manner of Rubens (1577-1640). The figures on the left were painted on a piece of canvas that was added to the other group and belong to the artist's late style.
This painting is not documented until 1746, when it was at the La Granja Palace.