We looked at this painting in steps.
First we looked for words: clouds, trees, camel, boat, deer, people, dog, hunting.
Then we looked for a story: The people are hunting a deer. Ascanius is going to kill the stag of Sylvia.
Finally we looked for understanding: Ascanius does not have to kill the stag. Ascanius knows he should not kill the stag, it is forbidden.
Ascanius is going to kill the stag anyway, and then there will be war. Why? That is left unanswered, but we would do well to ask ourselves this question.
This painting is an allegory. It offers us a lesson about ourselves and the choices we make. We can be like Ascanius too, we can make bad choices and bring trouble into our lives. What moments are our Ascanius moments? Will we be like Ascanius? Will we be better? Maybe this painting can help us understand ourselves , so that we make better choices in our life.
Lorrain, C. (1682). Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia. Oxford, Ashmolean Museum