'Meleager and the Calydonian Boar', bronze relief

'Meleager and the Calydonian Boar', bronze relief

'Meleager and the Calydonian Boar'
Bronze relief
Probably by Jacob Cornelisz Cobaert, after a design by Guglielmo della Porta
1590-1610
Museum no. A.15-1952

The hunting of the Calydonian boar was one of the most famous episodes of Greek heroic legend. The giant boar was sent by an angry Diana to destroy the land of the King of Calydon. Atalanta, the huntress, was the first to injure the boar, which was finally killed by Meleager. Meleager awarded the hide of the boar to Atalanta, whom he loved, but this angered the other hunters, including Meleager's uncles, and a fatal fight ensued. Meleager's demise was soon after. At his birth the Fates (the spirits that decided upon a man's destiny), had decreed that he should not die until a log of wood burning in the hearth had been consumed. His mother had snatched it from the flames to save Meleager, but on hearing of the killing of her brothers, had thrown it back into the fire and he perished.