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Diego Velázquez, Philip IV hunting Wild Boar (La Tela Real)

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 × 302 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1846
Inventory number NG197
Location Room 30
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
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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