Take a look into Atlanta and Meleager

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

iconographical assessment

Story of the painting

This portray is dependent on the Greek fantasy 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 significant characters, Meleager the leader of the hunt and Atalanta, the female whom the hero falls for her. In some variations of the myth Atalanta participates in the hunt.

Within just the story Calydonia, is a town in which the goddess Artemis, sends in a massive and wild boar as a punishment to the king, for not satisfying his prophecies to her. Meleager then sets out to hunt and eliminate the boar, that was generating destruction to the location. Between the hunters ended up Meleager’s two uncles, one more was Atalanta, an excellent hunter, with whom he falls in love with her.

When they lastly have slayed the Calydonian Boar, and reduce off its head, Meleager wishes to existing the head, to exhibit his undying adore to Atalanta. But his uncles dislike the concept of girls acquiring trophies. In retaliation, he kills the two of his uncles. This painting is total of iconographical symbolism.

At the extremely best of the painting, there is a crimson flowing cloth that could be a banner, even though it is tough to say. This painting sets a scene, with exciting lights, the place the painter has the bordering spots, the tonal values of the colors seem to be to be muted, whilst the primary subjects in the middle, (Atalanta in yellow, and Meleager in red cloak) are in a lot a lot more saturated colouration. Most of the muted colors are the greenery of the countryside. The symbolism of inexperienced as mentioned “both lifetime and death in vernal inexperienced of everyday living and the furious environmentally friendly of loss of life.” (Cooper, 1978,) This means that the green indicates or possibly even foreshadowing that there is death, to assist this Greek fantasy.

It has a beautiful use of composition, with the rule of thirds, where by anything is properly balanced. So, the eye follows the portray from the top to the base, like looking at a guide. This assists to set the scene and notify a tale and searching aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

We see that there are four people in this in a countryside landscape. Two folks on the still left, with Atalanta getting showed the head of a boar by Meleager, with one more hunter future to him. The boar has an iconographical this means of “The boar’s head symbolises wellness and preservation from danger” (Cooper, 1978, web page 43). By offering this reward to Atalanta, it is telling her that with the demise of the boar there is no extra risk, actually and figuratively. Also displaying his enjoy for her.

The countryside has a charming mountain array in the qualifications with different tones of blue. With the blue, meanings of trust, depth, and calmness. It is really everything but calm in this portray. This has a use of aerial viewpoint. When looking intently, next to Meleager’s left shoulder, there can be witnessed a pale dead entire body of a man or woman laying on the rolling hill side. His uncles that Meleager has killed, when they disapproved of him representing the boar’s head to Atalanta. His uncles may well have disliked the notion due to the fact “the boar is a masculine principle” (Cooper, 1978, website page 43), this indicates that a trophy of an animal is masculine, and for that reason it is un woman-like for Atalanta to have just one. Of system, with this Meleager disagreed by killing his uncles.

On the foreground of the two still left and proper corner there are two dogs on every single facet. To assist with the monitoring of the boar for the duration of this hunt. As the puppies are a symbolism of fidelity, this means loyalty, the painter may possibly have place them there as a signal of irony. As we get to master in the myth, that Meleager betrays his uncles, the incredibly opposite of fidelity.

There is a pelt of an animal subsequent to Atalanta. She is dressed in a stunning yellow gown. The painter has made use of some depth within just the folds of the dress, which delivers out the texture of the gown. The dress also leaves one of her breasts uncovered. But she is not sexualised with this, on the lookout powerful and not helpless. The publicity of a breast has a symbolic that means. “The bared breast is humility” (. Cooper, 1978, page 50) with this, the painter is declaring that Atalanta is humble, she doesn’t feel she is better than any one. It signifies her in a way that she requirements to be rewarded, for Meleager’s like. Also, if she is definitely snug with a bared breast surrounded by adult men. It begs the issue 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 beautiful blue cloth (a cloak?) on her knees, with beautiful embroidery everywhere you go.

Her remaining arm resting on top rated of a wood bow. The is what could possibly be made use of to present who is Atalanta. In Greek mythology, a bow is ordinarily associated with Artemis the goddess of animals and the hunt. In addition, this could also necessarily mean the victory of the hunt, with the dying of the boar. With Atalanta possessing a bow, it tells us that she a excellent huntress and lover of animals. This is more supported, with two puppies by her toes, on the lookout protective of her, and a pelt of an animal guiding her. “She difficulties gender expectations” ( d’Entremont, 2020, web site 5) It displays that she is not a meek younger girl, with the information of searching. Which would have been subversive, for a lady of her time.

Although Meleager is dressed in a crimson cloak and blue tunics. Both of those of which have golden bejewelled, embroidery together the lining of the outfits. The cloak has a significant symbolism of dignity and placement. Telling us, he is a leader of this hunt and has the dignity and with the pink the bravery to completete his task. Also keeping a sword upright, employed to destroy the boar. The sword has the iconographical symbolism of protection and strength, in which Meleager, genuinely proves of this for the duration of the hunt. What is significant about the sword, is that the blade is not silver but black. This may perhaps imply that it references to the deaths of his uncles, probably in mourning for them, as the colour black is usually the representation of demise and mourning. But it could also signify, Meleager’s energy and strength.


J.C.Cooper, 1978, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Classic 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, area of publication, You Tube


Michela d’Entremont, 2020, Gender and Excellence in the myth of Atalanta, area of publication, Dalhousie University Halifax, Nova Scotia. Read pager 1-5, and pages 35.

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