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At the time of this writing, Rubens was already a famous artist. He lacked the role of only a court portrait painter. Rubens had a desire to create something monumental, dynamic. As a result, he became the first to portray animals and people in such difficult poses.
The painting “Hunting for tigers and lions” is dedicated to hunting for wild animals exotic for Europe. The artist goes beyond the real story. The viewer is presented with an implausible plot. The lion, leopard, tigers, horsemen of different nations are gathered in a single battle. The picture contains a hero similar to Samson, tearing the mouth of a lion.
Hunting is more like a battlefield. Everything that happens is woven into one ball. A real drama is being played. A tigress tries to save her cub by carrying him to her mouth. Nearby two more cubs climb on it. The leopard was killed: a pair of spears and several arrows were pierced into it.
In the center of the plot is an angry tiger that pounced on the rider and clung to his shoulder. In the eyes of a man is visible all the horror and pain experienced. He did not even have time to pull out his dagger for protection from a predator. His horse reared up from fear and was about to throw off his rider. Knights in heavy armor rush to the rescue. Their swords are ready.
In the left corner, a lion knocked down one hunter. But in a moment the predator itself became a victim. A man like Samson rips open his mouth, straining all his muscles. There is a real battle in the struggle for survival.
In the background, other hunters raised their spears, brandishing a beast that is not visible to the audience.
The poses of animals and people in this picture are unusual and difficult for that time. In this, Rubens was an innovator. It is possible that in the painting the artist repeated the plot of their unfinished fresco by Leonardo da Vinci “The Battle of Angiari”. Rubens once copied this mural, honing his artistic prowess.