A Wild Boar at Bay

Backed snarling against a tree, a wild boar fends off the attacking hounds. The bodies of three dogs lie piled in a heap on the left, while others leap towards the boar. Frans Snyders concentrated particularly on the animals' tormented facial expressions, from the angry stare of the cornered boar to the suffering of the hound on its back to the growling fury of the dogs who attack their prey at the rear. Each is caught in suspended motion, leaping, rushing, and growling. Delicately executed pen and brown ink emphasize the boar's wiry coat, while reproduce the dogs' soft fur and the fine tufts of undergrowth at the back. Many aristocratic patrons in Flanders and throughout Europe in the 1600s favored monumental hunting scenes as a reminder of their passionate love for the chase. Snyders was particularly sought after for his still lifes of animals. He probably produced this drawing as a preparatory study for a later painting. So popular was this painting that at least six copies of it still survive.

Black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash (1620-1630)

by Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579-1657)

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