"The Joys of the Chase", or, "The Rising Woman and the Falling Man" (Primary Title)

John Collet, English, ca. 1725 - 1780 (Artist)

oil on canvas
Framed: 19 3/4 × 26 3/4 in. (50.17 × 67.95 cm)
John Collet specialized in paintings and engravings that portray the comic aspects and debauched tendencies of social life. In this unusual stag hunting scene set in the English countryside, a woman rider is suspended in mid-canter above a parson who has been pinned under his horse. In his struggle to free himself, his wig and hat have tumbled off his head. On the right side of the composition, one of a pair of male riders has fallen off his horse while attempting to jump over the hurdle, adding to the scene’s sense of misadventure. Brandishing a whip, the woman seems to smile victoriously, perhaps mockingly, at the clergyman as she urges her horse forward. The scene appears to parody the pride of male victors that characterizes the majority of sporting art images, since only the woman is able to keep stride with the pack of hounds, simultaneously enjoying the joys of the chase and of defying stereotyped gender roles.
"162" written on top of stretcher bar at center
Paul Mellon Collection
2018-2019: "A Sporting Vision: The Paul Mellon Collection of British Sporting Art from the VMFA", National Sporting Museum & Library, Middleburg, VA, April 13 - July 22, 2018; Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN, February 2 - May 5, 2019; Frick Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, June 15 - September 8, 2019
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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