Departure For The Hunt - Edwin Lord Weeks - Orientalist Indian Art Painting - Posters
In the present work, a group of human and animal protagonists wait to depart for a princely hunt. Two enormous elephants, one with his trunk raised in delight and the other deliciously clothed in silks, velvet, gold bullion and a double-seated howdah (a back-mounted chariot) dominate the courtyard. A pair of cheetahs, integral to the hunt in their role as trained deer and gazelle hunters, are leashed at right. A ripple of excitement moves through the assembled as the magnificently garbed gentleman at far right descends the stairs, marking the commencement of the hunt.
The setting for Departure for the Hunt is a carefully curated assemblage of architectural highlights from the city of Fatepuhr Sikri, founded in 1571 as the capital of the Mughal Empire by Akbar the Great (1542-1605). The city was built on a rocky ridge, bordered by a lake and three high walls, 40 kilometers southwest of Agra. As with Weeks’ most vivid pictures, he has combined his detailed architectural and figural studies with a sense of theatricality and historicity, evoking the days of the sixteenth century Moguls.
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