Raden Saleh’s largest painting, Forest Fire, is a dramatic representation of wild animals chased by
flames to the edge of a precipice. The monumental scale of the work and the dense, elaborate composition are testament to his ambitions as a painter. Although the setting is Javanese, Raden Saleh had already been in Europe for 20 years by the time he painted this work, where he had earned significant critical success and elite patronage. Forest Fire was presented as a gift to his patron King William III of the Netherlands in 1850, one year before Raden Saleh was awarded the title of “King’s Painter”.