Still Life of a Hunting Scene
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Adolphe Braun
French, negative about 1867, print about 1880
Carbon print

30 7/16 x 22 1/8 in.

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The category of still life painting emerged during the Baroque period in Italy and Belgium. Adolphe Braun photographed works of art from numerous European collections, so he was certainly familiar with such paintings from those assignments. This image of the hunt, with a dead boar and bird, rifle, trumpet, and woodsy vegetation suggests the sporting scene. At first glance the assemblage appears to be an effusively illuminated initial E from a manuscript. Then the gruesome scene reveals itself. The reality of the boar's lifeless body is less picturesque in this highly detailed photograph than it might be in a similar scene in a painting. The photograph's ability to imitate nature so realistically makes for a sober, macabre image.