(b. 1593, Antwerpen, d. 1678, Antwerpen)

Meleager and Atalanta

Oil on canvas, 152 x 120 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

After the death of Rubens in 1640, Jacob Jordaens became the leading artist of the Southern Netherlands. He was primarily active in Antwerp, and his artistic aspirations did not extend quite so high as those of Rubens. Jordaens showed himself to be an uncomplicated member of the middle-class, and there is little room in his work for reflection or any feeling of transcendence. Although he never visited Italy, he was strongly influenced by Caravaggio. Traces of this influence are visible in the contrast between light and dark which serves to heighten the dramatic tension of his Meleager and Atalanta painted in 1618. The painting's subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

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