Take a look into Atlanta and Meleager

Take a look into Atlanta and Meleager

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

iconographical evaluation

Story of the painting

This painting is based on the Greek fantasy known as 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 big figures, Meleager the leader of the hunt and Atalanta, the female whom the hero falls for her. In some versions of the myth Atalanta participates in the hunt.

Inside of the tale Calydonia, is a town in which the goddess Artemis, sends in a major 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 location. Amongst the hunters have been Meleager’s two uncles, a further was Atalanta, an exceptional hunter, with whom he falls in love with her.

When they eventually have slayed the Calydonian Boar, and minimize off its head, Meleager would like to present the head, to exhibit his timeless like to Atalanta. But his uncles dislike the thought of gals getting trophies. In retaliation, he kills both of his uncles. This painting is comprehensive of iconographical symbolism.

At the really top rated of the painting, there is a crimson flowing fabric that could be a banner, while it’s tricky to say. This painting sets a scene, with attention-grabbing lighting, in which the painter has the surrounding parts, the tonal values of the colors appear to be muted, while the major topics in the middle, (Atalanta in yellow, and Meleager in crimson cloak) are in a lot extra saturated colouration. Most of the muted colours are the greenery of the countryside. The symbolism of eco-friendly as said “both existence and death in vernal environmentally friendly of daily life and the furious eco-friendly of dying.” (Cooper, 1978,) This usually means that the green indicates or possibly even foreshadowing that there is dying, to support this Greek fantasy.

It has a lovely use of composition, with the rule of thirds, where almost everything is nicely balanced. So, the eye follows the painting from the prime to the bottom, like looking at a ebook. This will help to set the scene and tell a tale and on the lookout aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

We see that there are four persons in this in a countryside landscape. Two folks on the remaining, with Atalanta currently being showed the head of a boar by Meleager, with a different hunter next to him. The boar has an iconographical that means of “The boar’s head symbolises health and preservation from danger” (Cooper, 1978, site 43). By giving this reward to Atalanta, it is telling her that with the dying of the boar there is no more threat, virtually and figuratively. Also exhibiting his like for her.

The countryside has a charming mountain variety in the history with unique tones of blue. With the blue, meanings of trust, depth, and calmness. It is really just about anything but quiet in this portray. This has a use of aerial standpoint. When searching carefully, up coming to Meleager’s remaining shoulder, there can be witnessed a pale lifeless system of a 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 notion due to the fact “the boar is a masculine principle” (Cooper, 1978, web site 43), this indicates that a trophy of an animal is masculine, and as a result it is un lady-like for Atalanta to have one particular. Of study course, with this Meleager disagreed by killing his uncles.

On the foreground of the two left and correct corner there are two pet dogs on every facet. To assist with the tracking of the boar all through this hunt. As the dogs are a symbolism of fidelity, which means loyalty, the painter may have place them there as a indication of irony. As we get to understand in the fantasy, that Meleager betrays his uncles, the incredibly reverse of fidelity.

There is a pelt of an animal subsequent to Atalanta. She is dressed in a spectacular yellow gown. The painter has employed some depth in just the folds of the dress, which brings out the texture of the dress. The gown also leaves a person of her breasts uncovered. But she is not sexualised with this, hunting sturdy and not helpless. The exposure of a breast has a symbolic indicating. “The bared breast is humility” (. Cooper, 1978, website page 50) with this, the painter is expressing that Atalanta is humble, she does not think she is improved than anybody. It represents her in a way that she desires to be rewarded, for Meleager’s really like. Also, if she is actually at ease with a bared breast surrounded by adult men. It begs the dilemma of if she would have cared to not get the boar’s head. And with this, sparing the life of Meleager’s uncles. On her lap, there is a beautiful blue cloth (a cloak?) on her knees, with exquisite embroidery in all places.

Her still left arm resting on top rated of a picket bow. The is what may be utilized to demonstrate who is Atalanta. In Greek mythology, a bow is usually linked with Artemis the goddess of animals and the hunt. On top of that, this could also necessarily mean the victory of the hunt, with the death of the boar. With Atalanta having a bow, it tells us that she a fantastic huntress and lover of animals. This is further supported, with two canine by her feet, searching protective of her, and a pelt of an animal behind her. “She troubles gender expectations” ( d’Entremont, 2020, page 5) It exhibits that she is not a meek youthful lady, with the knowledge of looking. Which would have been subversive, for a girl of her time.

While Meleager is dressed in a red cloak and blue tunics. Each of which have golden bejewelled, embroidery along the lining of the clothes. The cloak has a significant symbolism of dignity and position. Telling us, he is a leader of this hunt and has the dignity and with the crimson the braveness to completete his activity. Also holding a sword upright, made use of to kill the boar. The sword has the iconographical symbolism of safety and energy, in which Meleager, definitely proves of this throughout the hunt. What is sizeable about the sword, is that the blade is not silver but black. This might necessarily mean that it references to the fatalities of his uncles, it’s possible in mourning for them, as the colour black is commonly the illustration of dying and mourning. But it could also signify, Meleager’s electrical power and energy.


J.C.Cooper, 1978, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Standard Symbols, Area 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, place of publication, You Tube


Michela d’Entremont, 2020, Gender and Excellence in the myth of Atalanta, position of publication, Dalhousie University 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 Company, Inc.