As a punishment for a failed thanks offering, the goddess of hunting, Artemis, sent out a wild boar. Although Atalanta, famed for her hunting skills, injured the animal with an arrow, it was Meleager who actually succeeded in killing it. Supported by Cupid, he presents her with the hunting trophy. The Erinys behind Meleager, however, proclaims that great harm will come for he will kill his uncles and that he himself will soon die.
Rubens copied several works by Titian while in Madrid. The loose brushwork and softly modelled textural quality are clearly influenced by the works of the famous master.