Hunting Worlds Turned Upside Down? Paulus Potter’s Life of a Hunter

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Green Criminology book series (PSGC)


This chapter is a case study of the extraordinary painting Life of a Hunter (1647–50) by the Dutch artist Paulus Potter. It boasts fourteen rectangular panels and multiple narratives. It depicts a hunter and his hounds who have been captured by their animal quarry. The hunter is tried by the animals, condemned to death and roasted alive. Life of a Hunter provokes several questions: What did Life of a Hunter mean to Potter and to the painting’s audience? When and where did its viewpoint of an ‘upside down’ animal trial originate? Was its moral message encouraged by the pro-animal sentiments expressed by Montaigne? As happened here, an image sometimes manages simultaneously to reflect prevailing cultural standards and to show the way to their erosion and possible transcendence.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyUniversity of Southern MainePortlandUSA
  2. 2.Avans University for Applied SciencesDen BoschThe Netherlands

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