Truth About Capo-di-Monte's
"The Lion Hunt Stein"
Rubens (1577 - 1640) was Flemish artist and later a diplomat. He is
regarded as the most influential artist of what was called the Flemish
Baroque movement. Rubens was born in Siegen, Germany, and named after
Saints Peter and Paul. When he was 12, he and his mother moved to
Antwerp, Belgium. Here he received a Renaissance Humanist education and
focused on classical literature, Latin, and art. When he was 23, Rubens
traveled to Italy and studied classical Greek and Roman art. Rubens'
art was filled with nudity, drinking, orgy type scenes, "Rubenesque"
characters, and religious overtones.
One can look at
virtually any painting by Peter Paul Rubens and any Capo-di-Monte stein
and see that his art had a pronounced effect on the decorations on the
steins. For example, SCI’s July, 2019 Featured Stein is an 18th century
Capo-di-Monte stein presented by Randy Satterfield. It is described as
having a wrap-around relief of what appears to be an orgy scene
(nudity, drinking) followed by a hunt scene. This is clearly
reminiscent of Rubens art.
Rubens was commissioned by Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, to create
a series of hunting paintings to decorate the Schlei▀heim Palace. These
were: The Wild Boar Hunt, The Wolf and Fox Hunt, The Lion Hunt, The
Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt, and The Tiger Hunt.
Two of the
paintings in Rubens hunting series bear examination: "The Lion Hunt"
and "The Tiger Hunt." Both depict scenes of fierce battle between man
and beast, men on horseback, some with spears or swords, some being
mauled or dragged off their horses by the big cat. While similar in
concept, the composition of the two scenes is entirely different.
Lion Hunt" by Rubens
Tiger Hunt" by Rubens
The subject stein
of this article is often referred to as "The Lion Hunt." While the link
to Rubens is appropriate, associating the stein with Rubens' painting
of the same name is incorrect: the design of the stein is NOT based
upon Rubens' painting of that same name. In comparing the stein to the
two hunt scenes mentioned above, it is clear that the stein was modeled
after "The Tiger Hunt," but a Lion was substituted for the Tiger.