Bear Hunt

Flanders (Brussels?)

Not on view

The dense overlapping of numerous courtly figures and hunters on horseback evokes the dramatic action of the hunt, a popular subject of medieval and Renaissance tapestries. This work is the only known drawing to document the transition from one stage of tapestry design to another. The draftsman’s unusual alterations to the sheet provide fascinating insight into his working process. The artist cut out sixteen areas, pasting pieces of paper behind the holes, so as to redraw a new version. It is possible that he initially copied a tapestry cartoon (a full-scale design) and then modified the details, particularly certain heads (which might be portraits), to modernize the older version for a new commission.

Bear Hunt, Flanders (Brussels?) (1470–1490), Pen and brown ink, Flemish

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