The rider in a green jacket on a rearing horse in the centre possibly a self portrait.
Following his years in the Netherlands from 1829 to 1839 and in Germany 1839 to 1844, Raden Saleh travelled to Paris in early 1845. Paris would be his base for the next five years, before his departure for his native Java in October 1851. He is received at court by King Louis-Philippe and visits Horace Vernet's studio at Versailles. Vernet, whose Mazeppa (from Byron's narrative poem, illustrating the cossack tied to a wild horse) had already inspired a series of works by Raden Saleh in 1842, was then in the midst of his commissions to decorate the palace of Versailles with scenes celebrating the conquest of Algeria, such as the massive panoramic Prise de la smalah d'Abd-El-Kader à Taguin. 16 mai 1843 (1844). Inspired once again by Vernet, Raden Saleh shows large and exotic hunting scenes at the Paris Salon in 1846 (Chasse au tigre) and 1847 (Chasse au cerf dans l'ile de Java), a boar hunt in Java, as here, but on a grand scale, measuring 239 x 246cm. Both works were bought by Louis-Philippe. The present subject probably dates to these early years in Paris when Raden Saleh's painting aligns so closely, both in terms of subject matter and style, with Horace Vernet's art.
Raden Saleh returned to Java in 1851, settling near Batavia, then at Jogjakarta and finally at Bogor. He left behind the Orientalism of his European years in Java, concentrating on portraiture and landscape painting, his landscapes painted at Mount Merapi in Central Java in the 1860s some of his most spectacular work. He returned to Europe in the late 1870s and died at Bogor in 1880. Nineteen of his works were included in the Colonial Exhibition in Amsterdam in 1883 and his work is now in the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, the Musium Istana, Jakarta, and institutional and private collections worldwide. His work has been the subject of considerable study in recent years, Werner Kraus's Raden Saleh, The Beginning of Modern Indonesian Painting published in conjunction with the exhibition Raden Saleh and the Beginning of Modern Indonesian Painting at the Galeri Nasional Indonesia, in 2012. His European years were the subject of a major exhibition at the Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg in 2013, Raden Saleh (1811-1880) Ein javanischer Maler in Europa, with a catalogue of works by Werner Kraus.