Study of a Stag (recto); Study of Goats (verso)

Lucas Cranach the Elder often painted carefully described animals, one of his particular specialties and a typical manifestation of Renaissance interest in nature. He frequently depicted stags, both as victims of the hunt and as onlookers. Here Cranach began with a sketch in black chalk, which he then went over rapidly with a brush and ink wash, using broad strokes to create the long, furry winter coat. He then freely applied varied washes to the legs and antlers. On the verso, a quickly brushed yet well-formed three-dimensional goat grazes energetically. The head of another goat is cut off by the edge of the paper, and a light black chalk sketch of a third peers outward above the neck of the main animal. All three animals stare saucily at the viewer with engagingly direct gazes.

Brush with brown and red brown wash, heightened with white gouache (recto); brush with black, gray, and green wash, black chalk (verso) (about 1520-1530)

by Lucas Cranach the Elder (German, 1472-1553)

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