Carl Borromaus Andreas RUTHART
(Danzig 1630 – after 1703, L'Aquila)
Hunting with leopards
Oil on canvas, 68 x 82 cm
Carl Andreas Ruthart is best known for his paintings of wild animals, as during his stay in Antwerp (1663–1664, according to the guild’s register) he came into contact with Flemish artists who painted mostly animals and still lifes. Carl Ruthart is indisputably considered to be one of the best animal painters in German art of the 17th century. His style was strongly influenced by the works of great animal painters such as Frans Snyders and Pauwel de Vos. His travels led him via Regensburg to Vienna, Venice and Rome. In 1672 he became a monk of the Celestine order at the monastery of Sant’Eusebio in Rome; later he is recorded as a monk (Pater Andrea) at the monastery of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila (Abruzzo region, Italy) where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. Even when living in a monastery, withdrawn from the world, he remained true to painting animals and hunting scenes.
The artist rarely dated his works but deciding by the level of professional skill exhibited in “Hunting scene with leopards killing a deer” and the certain manner of painting characteristic of the period, this scene of a fierce battle between two leopards and a deer is painted by Ruthart during 1665 – 1667. The work’s naturalism and true-to-life quality leave an impression of a real fight between animals; however, considering the era, this scene can also be interpreted as an example of an unequal battle paralleled to the world of human beings, where two powerfully dominating characters attack one, referring to the inevitable reality of the predator’s nature but also to its excessive cruelty.
Important private collection, Zürich, Switzerland
Exhibition’s catalogue “Art Rules”, Tallinn, 2015
Exhibition “Art Rules” organized by Art-Life Project in Tallinn Town Hall, 5 June 2015 – 5 October 2015, Estonia