They have a nice collection of Peter Paul Rubens at the Getty Center including this very early painting of a hunting scene. In 2006, The Calydonian Boar Hunt was sold to the Getty Collection in Paris for more than €300,000. That figure pales against the millions that collectors are prepared to pay for a Rubens. It had been mistakenly attributed to a follower of Rubens for centuries until the attribution to Rubens was confirmed by David Jaffe, senior curator of Flemish paintings at the National Gallery in London. Michael Brand, director of the Getty Museum, said that The Calydonian Boar Hunt is one of the greatest paintings by Rubens in the United States. “It is seldom that a ‘lost’ painting of such an innovative historical subject by an artist of this caliber comes to light again,” he added. Scholars believe that Rubens kept the work in his studio to inspire him as he continued to develop the theme of the hunt and related subjects through the years. The story of the Calydonian boar hunt was told and retold during antiquity, most famously in Ovid's Metamorphoses. When King Oeneus of Calydon failed to honor the goddess Diana with offerings, she released a terrifying boar on his land. The king's son, Meleager, assembled a group of renowned warriors to slay the beast. Several of the huntsmen were killed or maimed before Meleager finally defeated the boar. He presented its head as a trophy to his beloved, the huntress Atalanta, who is seen behind Meleager, with bow in hand. Painted on his return from Italy, it reflects his study of statues from antiquity and reliefs on Roman sarcophagi, which inspired the pose of his subjects and the composition. Mr. Brand said, “The Calydonian Boar Hunt shows Rubens at his most daring and inventive.”
Born on June 28, 1577, Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens was one of the most celebrated and prolific artists in Europe during his lifetime as well as the entire Baroque era. His patrons included royalty and churches, and his art depicted subjects from religion, history, and mythology. Rubens delighted in undertakings of the vastest kind. “The large size of a picture”, he writes to W. Trumbull in 1621, “gives us painters more courage to represent our ideas with the utmost freedom and semblance of reality… I confess myself to be, by a natural instinct, better fitted to execute works of the largest size.” Aside from being the one of the greatest artists of his time, Peter Paul Rubens was also a diplomat in his later life, and travelled a fair bit by virtue of this role. He was well suited to diplomacy because he was very good at dealing with people. Even though he was the most prolific painter in Europe at the time, he was able to keep up because of his boundless energy and great organizational skills. He woke up early to go to mass, and worked until late at night. He hired assistants to help him. The positions as Rubens’ assistants were very sought after by other painters, the most renowned of whom was Anthony van Dyck . Rubens died of gout in 1640 at age 62. The paintings of Rubens are found in all the principal galleries in Europe: Antwerp and Brussels, Madrid, Paris, Lille, Dresden, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, St. Petersburg, London, Florence, Milan, Turin exhibit several hundreds of his works. J. Smith's Catalogue gives descriptions of more than thirteen hundred compositions.