Rus Articles Journal

Caledonian hunting: why Rubens drew its four times?

Very much can be that Vladimir Vysotsky, composing the song, was familiar if not with Ovidiya`s “Metamorphoses“, then with a statement of this myth.

Here that Ovidy tells us:

the Wild boar was, - Diana the servant and her insults the avenger.

the Tsar Oeney, speak, bumper-crop year Vyshnim brought rudiments

: To Ceres Juice it Palladiya vozlit fruits, wine of Lieyu,

to the blond goddess Minerva.

This enviable honor, beginning from rural, got to

to All Olympic gods; one were left without huts,

As speak, altars of the dshchera bypassed by Latonina.

Is peculiar anger and to gods. “With impunity we will not suffer! we do not have

Let respect, - will not tell that there is no vengeance to us!“ -

is Said by her and in the offense on Oeney`s

fields of the Wild boar - the avenger is sent …

So, the goddess Diana did not receive the honors relying it, decided to punish nechestivets and sent them punishment: awful wild boar. To get rid of this disaster, the tsar of this district invited to hunting of all legendary heroes of that time (them it is listed at Ovidiya 28) and one seductress who became the reason of disasters - Atalanta.

Some of these hunters were represented, molded, cut in a stone (the part of images reached up to now). Kalidonsky hunting was represented not once too. And not only in antique times.

One of heroes of Kalidonsky hunting - a wild boar. Its image on ancient vases reminds the modern warthog living in Africa. Perhaps, at the time of the Greek epos the warthog met also in Greece.

Reliability of portraits of the others - zero. Especially, so far as concerns the pictures painted in the middle of the last millennium. And the drama and colourful plot was well-known. Peter Paul Rubens came back to him four times. The artist almost literally reproduces on the cloths the description Ovidy, but every time is a little differently (except for the last option when the picture is perceived rather as a landscape, than a hunting scene).

The earliest option - 1611. On horses - twins Kastor and Polluks, with a spear - Meleagr, the woman slightly behind it (it just fired an arrow, onions - in the left hand) - Atalanta, on the earth - Ankey:

Here tumbled down Ankey, bulked up blood plentifully,

Having dropped out, guts spread, and the empurpled soil is wet.
Atalanta Ovidy describes


From above her clothes were fastened with a smooth buckle,

Hair just laid down, in only are collected knot;

I, hanging from a shoulder, the keeper - a quiver called an ivory

of Arrows; it left held the onions.

Atalanta the first from hunters the arrow got to a wild boar - and bled it.

… the Maiden - a tegeyka an arrow imposed

and let from bent onions.

About an ear vonzyas, the arrow scratched skin

of the Animal and slightly stained with blood a dense bristle.

It granted it the right for participation in production sharing:

the Maiden, however, had not so fun blow to success,

As Meleagr: speak, he saw the first also first

of the Animal showed the growing scarlet blood to associates young.

“You on merits, - told, - it is honored for valor!“
same served

I as the reason of awful events which began right after completion of hunting.

The picture is as if rather real except that heroes left to hunt almost naked (Meleagr and one of twins), and a boar some dozing. Dynamism is created by Kastor and Polluks`s horses: it are written largely, in detail and snore for horror - it is read on their muzzles.

Brothers meanwhile twins, - yet not constellation in the sky, -

Visible both themselves, astride horses of snow-white

Went; both of them shook in air amicably with

of Ostrokonechya of the continuously trembling copies.
the Second option is written to

in 1618, in seven years after the first and differs from it first of all in the fact that the wild boar is written almost black, and around it all figures are highlighted. It is more than contrast - the dramatic character is higher. Atalanta (now half-naked) near Meleagr, for Alatanta two more female figures, too seminude appeared. In the forefront on the right - dogs, napadyushchy on a wild boar who put one paw on the prostrate hunter. And a look at a wild boar menacing. This option of a picture turned out more dynamic, all characters - in a uniform rush.

The third option - 1628. Rubens changes Meleagr`s position: it puts it on the right. Atalanta`s role is designated more precisely: its arrow pierced an ear of a wild boar. There are no twins on horses - Kastor and Polluks are absent absolutely. But dynamism to a picture is given by the attacking and torn to pieces dogs. It seems that it is preparation, not all details are registered up to the end and the color scale is muffled that is not characteristic of Rubens`s zhivopis.

And here in this option (1636) first of all the landscape - that wood in which hunted a wild boar is perceived.

Frequent nobody never the chopped wood began

With the flat place; under it fields on an inclination were spread …

the Dale went to depth; usually water rain

All directed there; ozerko overgrew on edge

the Flexible willow, an alder an undersized, marsh grass,

Any rod and a dense cane, both high and low.

Gloomy place, gloomy situation, dense forest and several bright spots: Atalanta at the left, Meleagr on the right, dogs, one of twins on a horse. The wild boar almost merged with a background, its canine only gleams. Atalanta shoots a bow, and Meleagr runs to a wild boar. Twins on horses hurry to the place of fight, and the pack of dogs rushes with jumps to production.

From option to option the dramatic character of action, intensity, and in final option - almost full gloom increases. It is possible how reflection of the followed drama, is possible - as a metaphor of hiding places of human soul.

What occurred on hunting? Atalanta wounded an animal - and acquired the honourable right for a trophy. Meleagr killed a wild boar - and as the winner he had the right to distribute trophies. And as even prior to hunting Meleagr fell in love with Atalanta:

Only it was seen by the hero Kalidonsky, now

I wished, but in itself suppressed objectionable to god

the Flame and only told: “Oh, it is happy whom will award

with the Husband to call!“

Meleagr gives to Atalanta the head of a boar, and his uncles are participants of hunting - do not want it. Quarrel begins - and Meleagr kills the uncles. It leads to Meleagr`s death - and from hands of his mother who could not reconcile to loss of brothers.

Here such cruel history with Kalidonsky hunting.

What Rubens wanted to show? Probably, in early options - heat of hunting, cruelty and power of an animal, dramatic nature of losses, and in the last - gloom of the final: a tragic outcome from - for the flashed love.

P. S. In 1635, one year prior to the last option of “Kalidonsky hunting“ Rubens drew one more cloth. It “Atalanta and Meleagr“. On it Meleagr hands to Atalanta a trophy - the head of a boar.

A the winner, having trampled on the skull threatening with death,

Said: “By right you take mine, the nonakriysky maiden,

This production: with you we will share glory on honor“. Immediately it the maiden gives to

the Skins and his muzzle which are sticking out a rigid bristle

with the canines which are sticking out terribly …

On the right above, in clouds some goddess with expression of silent horror, most likely, portends trouble from this act. And one more interesting detail: Erot in the foreground. Pay attention to his right hand: it as if removes the head of a wild boar from Atalanta. And his face does not express pleasure, as usual in love scenes.

Probably, after that Rubens had a thought to write something more corresponding tragedies, than what was written earlier.