Artibus et Historiae no. 83 (XLII)

2021, ISSN 0391-9064

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ALEXANDER KUSZTYK - Nicolas Poussin’s Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta and the Spanish Court of King Philip IV (pp. 205–214)

This article seeks to demonstrate that Nicolas Poussin’s Hunt of Meleager and Atalanta, an oil painting with a mysterious provenance, was specifically intended for palatial display at the court of King Philip IV. With a series of visual references that respond to a pre-existing Spanish tradition of constructing the monarchy using mythology and ancient history, this painting offered meaningful juxtapositions between painted surface and regal encounter to facilitate the understanding of monarchal power.

Poussin acknowledges Philip IV’s mythological and imperial lineage with painted inclusions of Pania, Hercules Hispanicus and Emperor Trajan, distinct Spanish references that together transform a mere antique hunt scene into a theatre of rhetoric. Inserted within the Palacio del Buen Retiro’s courtly cosmos of erudite meaning, this work would function as a reflection of the majestic presence of the Rey Planeta, Philip IV.

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