Hunting is much more than just a sport or a hobby: it’s a true philosophy of life and we haven’t yet fully understood all the issues it raises. Since time immemorial, it has inspired the cultural world – in its widest sense – and particularly, pictorial art.
Without going back to our ancestors’ rock paintings, and their representations of their own confrontations with beasts, in this short post we would like to turn the spotlight on Miguel Angel Moraleda, a contemporary artist who illuminates hunting and European wildlife with his canvasses.
Becoming an artist
As his name suggests, Moraleda comes from Spain – more precisely from Consuegra, a village located a few dozen kilometres from Toledo. From his earliest childhood, he loved drawing and observing animals – happily playing truant from school so he could lose himself in the La Mancha countryside and absorb the beauty he found there.
Essentially self-taught, he came from a family of wine and olive oil producers who were worried by his intention to become a professional artist. Having started studying law, Moraleda decided, at the age of 22, to make his own destiny, and dedicated himself solely to his art.
Solely – or almost anyway, because before he became recognised in his chosen field, he earned his living by doing a range of jobs in factories, and fields, etc. Bit by bit however, he began to express his creativity in different ways: he worked for a while in an advertising agency, contributed illustrations to hunting magazines, taught painting and even became set designer, illustrator and then artistic director in cinema and television. Ultimately, at the heart of his work, it was always painting, and more specifically oil painting.
In contrast to the sometimes excessive freedom in contemporary art, Moraleda’s classicism may come as a surprise: far from hiding his taste for the figurative and for realism, the artist lays claim to it clearly.
In addition to his intimate knowledge of European wildlife (both fur and feather: cervid, wild boar, hare, partridge, pigeon, wildfowl, etc.), Moraleda sets each animal in its natural habitat: marshland, a corpse, a track or a vineyard all gain a truthfulness through his paintbrush which does not leave the connoisseur indifferent. There really is something old-fashioned about his work which charms the hunter and places the spectator in the privileged position of someone on the lookout, who is lucky enough to observe wildlife scenes painted with an amazing veracity.
Indeed, Miguel Angel Moraleda sees himself first and foremost as a painter of ambience, of atmosphere – and you only have to look at his paintings of returns from the hunt, all from another time, to be convinced of the success he achieves.
Moraleda is a hunting enthusiast himself (he particularly enjoys hunting woodcock with a retriever!) and he travels throughout Europe every year (as far as Lithuania) to provide new images for the bestiary which he then submits to his rigorous technique. For him, hunting, even in its most instinctive expression, is intrinsically linked to human aesthetics.
But since art is created to be seen, that’s enough words! Please tell us what you think about the paintings which we are reproducing here, and visit the artist’s website: www.wildlife-art.eu
Do you paint or draw hunting scenes?
You can also read the article about Thibaut De Witte, illustrator of hunting scenes.