Piero di Cosimo (1462–1522) was born in Florence, the son of a goldsmith. He apprenticed in the studio of the artist Cosimo Rosselli (1439–1507) for whom he assisted in painting the Sistine Chapel in 1481–82. Piero was an older contemporary of Michelangelo, but about a decade younger than Leonardo, who would have much influence on the artist later in his career. He was also a noted eccentric and enjoyed a great reputation as a portrait painter. A Hunting Scene is one of two companion paintings by Piero in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and depicts a hunt by men and satyrs. The inspiration appears to be the poem De rerum natura by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius (c. 99–55 BC). The painting evokes contemporary interest in the natural world and the influence of humanism with its renewed interest in classical literature. In A Hunting Scene we witness the vivid imagination of this Florentine genius. Piero specialized in painting mythological scenes and others, like these Metropolitan panels, that represented humanity in an idealized distant past, leading a seemingly simpler and more natural existence.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.