Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens
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Landscape and Hunt Scenes: Projects for Philip IV
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Peter Paul Rubens
Bear Hunt, ca. 1639
Oil on panel, 26 x 53.7 cm
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna Fund, 1983.69


Catalog Entry by Peter C. Sutton

In a rapid brush drawing executed primarily in shades of brown, two mounted hunters, two attendants on foot, and a half dozen hounds attack two large bears in a landscape. The horseman on the left wields a sword as he is bitten on the shoulder by the rearing bear. His jacket is a light purple and his horse a roan. The horseman at the center wears a rose jacket and sits astride a charging white and gray horse. Both horsemen have plumed hats. One of the running hunters at the back blows a horn and the other brandishes a lance. In the violence of the hunt several of the dogs, many of which are spattered with blood, have been thrown to the ground, while others attack the beasts. A hillock in shades of blue-green rises on the right. Several changes reveal Rubens subtly editing himself: the horses' legs, the right hind leg of the rearing bear, and the paw of the hound thrown to the ground in the right center all show pentimenti...


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