Le retour du braconnier otherwise known as The Wounded Poacher is a painting by Henry Jones Thaddeus, completed in 1881. It now lives in the National Gallery of Ireland, where we were supposed to go in March. Unfortunately a little global effect occurred which prevented us from doing so. This was most unfortunate indeed.

Henry Jones Thaddeus was an Irish painter born and trained in County Cork. He won the Taylor prize twice in 1878 and 1879. He was a realist artist and portrait artist, most famously perhaps commissioned to paint a portrait of Pope Pius X, seen above. This post, however, shall focus on The Wounded Poacher, which Thaddeus completed in 1881.

There is a lot to be admired in this wonderful painting. The lighting is extraordinary in the first place. The sharp contrast between the poacher and the lady tending him with the bleak darkness in the background creates a short of chiaroscuro effect. Going in from here there are so many wonderful details in this painting. The little rabbit on the left prostrate over the rifle, the loosened laces and mud on the boots, the beautiful bottle and pipe on the table as well as the way the trouser leg is rolled up. Each part of this painting is depicted with such wonderful precision and accuracy. Look at the folds of the trousers and the way the lighting is depicted here. This is particularly impressive to me.

The woman tending the poacher is also depicted exquisitely well. The look of pained anguish on her face is remarkable. As is the look of immense pain in the poacher’s face, who is being tended presumably for a shot wound from an angry farmer.

Overall this is a truly exceptional piece of art and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.