A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus)

Artist: Hans Hoffmann (German, Nuremberg ca. 1545/1550–1591/1592 Prague)

Date: before 1584

Medium: Watercolor and gouache on vellum

Dimensions: Sheet: 8 1/8 x 12 1/16 in. (20.7 x 30.7 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Purchase, Annette de la Renta Gift, 2005

Accession Number: 2005.347


This endearing study of a hedgehog dates from the second half of the sixteenth century, when the detailed study and portrayal of flora and fauna came into focus more and more. Due to the specialist skills required to replicate every minute detail characteristic for a specific animal or plant, certain artists, such as Hans Hoffmann and Joris Hoefnagel developed as specialists in this area. While Hoffmann was also active as a painter of portraits and religious subjects, he is best remembered for his highly finished drawings after nature. His initial inspiration however, was not nature itself per se, but the highly-detailed studies of it, made by his famous predecessor Albrecht Dürer, whose works were still admired and highly coveted. Several collectors in Nuremberg, the native town of both artists, owned such studies by Dürer and provided Hoffmann with inspiration.