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About This Artwork
The Offering of the Boar's Head, from The Story of Meleager and Atalanta, 1673/86
Wool and silk, slit, dovetailed and double interlocking tapestry weave
355 x 344.8 cm (139 3/4 x 135 3/4 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Maurice L. Rothschild, 1941.93
Not on Display
The Story of Meleager and Atalanta is based on the version of the legend that appears in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Meleager was the son of Oeneus, the king of Calydon. One day the goddess Artemis, enraged by Oeneus’s failure to honor her appropriately, sent a wild boar to ravage Calydon’s fields. Meleager organized a hunting party to kill the animal. Atalanta, the daughter of the king of Arcadia, was the only woman in the group. As soon as Meleager laid eyes on her, he fell in love. Atalanta wounded the boar with an arrow and Meleager killed it with a spear. The prince honored the princess for drawing first blood, declaring her queen of the hunt and offering her the boar’s head. Meleager’s uncles were jealous, and tried to steal the trophy. Blinded by love and rage, Meleager killed them. The tapestry shows Meleager returning the boar’s head to Atalanta.
— Exhibition label, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries, November 1, 2008–January 4, 2009, Regenstein Hall.