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In a forest, in fading light at the end of the day, a huntsman guts a stag. He looks efficient and seemingly quick – this is an everyday procedure for him. His gun lies beside him and his two hounds stand alert, ready to rejoin the hunt shown in the distance through the gap in the trees.
In the seventeenth-century Netherlands, hunting was a privilege not available to many. The picture would have been painted for an aristocratic collector for whom it was both a sport and a status symbol.
Jan Baptist Weenix was born in Amsterdam. He went to study in Rome for a few years in his youth, returning to the Netherlands to paint Italianate scenes of the mountainous Italian landscape lit by soft, mellow light.
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