The figure of the archer represented in the foreground seems timeless. He appears to be straight out of a medieval scene or a painting by Brueghel, and evokes in particular the archer friaries existing in Wallonia, created in the Middle Ages but still present in popular Walloon traditions at the beginning of the twentieth century. There is perhaps here an allusion to Saint Sebastian, a recurring theme in Anto Carte’s art. The prominent figure of the crucifix in the foreground seems to justify this hypothesis and throws us into Carte’s imaginary world, embossed with religiosity.
Although painted obetween the two World Wars, the present painting is freed thus from all chronology. Anto Carte seems to disregard the industrialization in progress, the worker’s struggles and increasing urbanization in order to concentrate only upon the essential questions of the human condition. By doing this, he adheres completely to the humanist and social approach of the artists from the Nervia movement (1928-48) of which Anto Carte was one of the founders. At the time he painted Tireur à l’arc, Carte had already received recognition from the public, notably further to the retrospective he was given at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh in 1924. The daring presentation used here, with the sculptural and monumental figures in the foreground, the original perspective and the stylized volumes are particularly characteristic of the refinement of Anto Carte’s art which seems to endow this scene with a feeling of eternity.
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