Take a look into Atlanta and Meleager

Lebrun, Charles. Atalanta and Meleager. 1658, oil on canvas. 212.5 x 280.5cm. On Display screen: Walker Artwork Gallery

iconographical assessment

Story of the portray

This painting is centered on the Greek myth called Atalanta and the Calydonian Boar Hunt. This myth is about the hunt of a boar and the story’s heroes. In this tale, there are two key characters, Meleager the chief of the hunt and Atalanta, the female whom the hero falls for her. In some variations of the myth Atalanta participates in the hunt.

In the story Calydonia, is a metropolis in which the goddess Artemis, sends in a massive and wild boar as a punishment to the king, for not fulfilling his prophecies to her. Meleager then sets out to hunt and get rid of the boar, that was producing destruction to the region. Between the hunters were Meleager’s two uncles, yet another was Atalanta, an fantastic hunter, with whom he falls in really like with her.

When they eventually have slayed the Calydonian Boar, and minimize off its head, Meleager wishes to current the head, to demonstrate his undying really like to Atalanta. But his uncles dislike the concept of ladies getting trophies. In retaliation, he kills both of those of his uncles. This portray is comprehensive of iconographical symbolism.

At the incredibly best of the portray, there is a crimson flowing material that could be a banner, despite the fact that it is tricky to say. This portray sets a scene, with exciting lighting, the place the painter has the bordering areas, the tonal values of the colours look to be muted, whereas the most important subjects in the middle, (Atalanta in yellow, and Meleager in purple cloak) are in much much more saturated colouration. Most of the muted colours are the greenery of the countryside. The symbolism of environmentally friendly as mentioned “both everyday living and dying in vernal environmentally friendly of life and the furious inexperienced of loss of life.” (Cooper, 1978,) This indicates that the inexperienced implies or perhaps even foreshadowing that there is dying, to aid this Greek fantasy.

It has a attractive use of composition, with the rule of thirds, where by every thing is nicely balanced. So, the eye follows the painting from the prime to the bottom, like reading a reserve. This helps to established the scene and inform a tale and looking aesthetically satisfying to the eye.

We see that there are 4 people in this in a countryside landscape. Two individuals on the left, with Atalanta being confirmed the head of a boar by Meleager, with yet another hunter following to him. The boar has an iconographical indicating of “The boar’s head symbolises well being and preservation from danger” (Cooper, 1978, site 43). By providing this present to Atalanta, it is telling her that with the loss of life of the boar there is no a lot more hazard, basically and figuratively. Also exhibiting his love for her.

The countryside has a charming mountain variety in the background with various tones of blue. With the blue, meanings of believe in, depth, and calmness. It truly is everything but tranquil in this portray. This has a use of aerial point of view. When hunting closely, subsequent to Meleager’s still left shoulder, there can be viewed a pale useless physique of a particular person laying on the rolling hill aspect. His uncles that Meleager has killed, when they disapproved of him symbolizing the boar’s head to Atalanta. His uncles may have disliked the thought mainly because “the boar is a masculine principle” (Cooper, 1978, web page 43), this indicates that a trophy of an animal is masculine, and as a result it is un woman-like for Atalanta to have just one. Of training course, with this Meleager disagreed by killing his uncles.

On the foreground of both equally still left and correct corner there are two puppies on each individual side. To enable with the tracking of the boar in the course of this hunt. As the puppies are a symbolism of fidelity, which means loyalty, the painter could have place them there as a signal of irony. As we get to discover in the myth, that Meleager betrays his uncles, the extremely opposite of fidelity.

There is a pelt of an animal following to Atalanta. She is dressed in a amazing yellow costume. The painter has used some depth inside of the folds of the costume, which delivers out the texture of the costume. The gown also leaves just one of her breasts exposed. But she is not sexualised with this, seeking potent and not helpless. The publicity of a breast has a symbolic meaning. “The bared breast is humility” (. Cooper, 1978, web site 50) with this, the painter is declaring that Atalanta is humble, she doesn’t believe she is far better than anyone. It signifies her in a way that she demands to be rewarded, for Meleager’s like. Also, if she is genuinely snug with a bared breast surrounded by adult males. It begs the problem of if she would have cared to not obtain the boar’s head. And with this, sparing the life of Meleager’s uncles. On her lap, there is a attractive blue fabric (a cloak?) on her knees, with exquisite embroidery almost everywhere.

Her left arm resting on top of a picket bow. The is what could possibly be utilized to demonstrate who is Atalanta. In Greek mythology, a bow is typically involved with Artemis the goddess of animals and the hunt. Also, this could also necessarily mean the victory of the hunt, with the demise of the boar. With Atalanta obtaining a bow, it tells us that she a very good huntress and lover of animals. This is more supported, with two puppies by her ft, searching protective of her, and a pelt of an animal at the rear of her. “She challenges gender expectations” ( d’Entremont, 2020, page 5) It displays that she is not a meek young female, with the expertise of hunting. Which would have been subversive, for a female of her time.

While Meleager is dressed in a pink cloak and blue tunics. Both of those of which have golden bejewelled, embroidery alongside the lining of the apparel. The cloak has a important symbolism of dignity and placement. Telling us, he is a leader of this hunt and has the dignity and with the crimson the courage to completete his task. Also holding a sword upright, made use of to get rid of the boar. The sword has the iconographical symbolism of security and energy, in which Meleager, genuinely proves of this during the hunt. What is substantial about the sword, is that the blade is not silver but black. This may possibly signify that it references to the deaths of his uncles, it’s possible in mourning for them, as the color black is usually the representation of demise and mourning. But it could also signify, Meleager’s electric power and strength.


J.C.Cooper, 1978, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Common Symbols, Place of Publication, Thames & Hudson. ISBN: 978-D-500-01201-7

See u in history/mythology, 2021, Meleager and Atalanta: The Hunt for Calidon’s Boar, put of publication, You Tube


Michela d’Entremont, 2020, Gender and Excellence in the fantasy of Atalanta, put of publication, Dalhousie College Halifax, Nova Scotia. Study pager 1-5, and web pages 35.

Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1865, Poems and Ballads [and] Atalanta in Calydon, put of publication, The Bobbs-Merill Firm, Inc.