The hunter is raising his spear to administer the fatal blow. The struggle and violent discharge of energy is represented through a dynamic composition and a very naturalistic depiction of man and animal. Naturally, the dramatic moment is frozen in time, and spectators are called upon to complete the action themselves.
Like most Danish artists of the first half of the 19th century, J.A. Jerichau spent some time in Rome. Very symbolically, he arrived on the frigate sent to bring Thorvaldsen’s collections back to Denmark. Jerichau’s ambitions soon took him in directions other than the neoclassical restraint that was Bertel Thorvaldsen’s (1770-1844) ideal – and the ideal of the times.
As The Panther Hunter clearly demonstrates, classical calm and quiet did not interest Jerichau. He was more interested in depicting motion and specific moments in time with scenes packed with action and extrovert emotions.
The Panther Hunter gave Jerichau his international breakthrough, bringing in several prestigious commissions from Denmark and abroad. In Denmark he was appointed professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and also served as its director for extended periods of time. Jerichau’s international outlook eventually set him on a collision course with the trend-setting Danish art circles who did not share his openness to international art trends.