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Key facts
Full title Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (La Tela Real)
Artist Diego Velázquez
Artist dates 1599 - 1660
Date made probably 1632-7
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 182 x 302 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1846
Inventory number NG197
Location Room 30
Art route(s) B
Collection Main Collection
Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (La Tela Real)
Diego Velázquez

Philip IV, King of Spain, and his entourage are hunting boar in a forest clearing. The King appears on horseback just right of centre, weapon pointed at a charging boar, accompanied by his first minister and possibly his two brothers. To the far left another boar is being attacked by a pack of dogs.

Boar hunting was an expensive activity and such events were traditionally staged to mark special occasions. A large canvas enclosure – the tela real (‘royal canvas’) – would be erected and wild boar driven into it. Queen Isabella and her companions watch from their carriages.

In the foreground, a crowd enjoys the spectacle of the hunt, though many are not paying attention: a boy in white stares towards us, three noblemen chat and a man loads up a mule.

The painting was commissioned for the King’s hunting lodge, Torre de la Parada, on the outskirts of Madrid.

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