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A Noble Pastime

Friday, October 7, 2022 - Saturday, April 8, 2023

"The hunt has been a prominent social pastime since the days of ancient Greece. It developed into a royal sport during the Middle Ages, when it was restricted to the nobility who had to obtain permission to hunt from the king. Anyone attempting to forage in royal forests was subject to strict penalties, and poaching was punishable by death. During the Renaissance, hunting was considered a salutary exercise, keeping the body fit and the soul distracted from idleness and sin. It was also promoted as a suitable surrogate for warfare during times of peace. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, hunting laws had relaxed, but the sport was still largely an aristocratic one, especially in mainland Europe. In fact, the prohibition of hunting in the countryside was cited as a major grievance of peasants in revolutionary France. From recreation to ritual, throughout the centuries hunting has inspired literature, vocabulary, music, fashion, and art. For early-modern collectors, whether members of the nobility or those seeking social elevation, owning and displaying a hunting picture was a means of associating oneself with an elite class." - Courtesy of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation