C. Griffith MannÂ Chief Curator
Pieter Bruegel (Flemish, 1527/8-1569)
etching, Sheet: 24.3 x 31.8 cm (9 9/16 x 12 1/2 in.); Platemark: 22.1 x 29 cm (8 11/16 x 11 3/8 in.). Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2009.80
In his only original print, The Rabbit Hunt, Bruegel replicated the graphic vocabulary of dots and dashes seen in his most beautiful pen-and-ink drawings to evoke a vivid sense of atmosphere and light and create a deep recession into space. His representations of nature, including majestic mountainsâ€”an unusual and popular subject in the flat Netherlandsâ€”exemplify an unprecedented naturalism. What at first appears to be a pleasant landscape peopled by a hunter searching for hares actually illustrates an ominous and cautionary moral tale. Aiming his crossbow at the two hares, the hunter becomes the unwitting target of a second man carrying a lance; the hunter becomes the hunted. The rotting stump in the foreground intensifies the sense of foreboding.
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