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A Lion Hunt
Peter Paul Rubens

In this grisaille sketch eastern hunters on horseback attempt to fight off a lion who tries to drag one of them to the ground. Another figure kills a lion on the ground and a corpse lies beneath the horses. A slightly altered arrangement of the central group appears in the upper right. There is no literary source for this violent study, but there are a number of visual precedents, notably by Leonardo.

The central group of the rider being pulled from his horse was reused by Rubens with variations in a finished painting of a lion hunt (Munich, Alte Pinakothek). Three other works of this type by the artist are known (Musée de Bordeaux, destroyed, Dresden, Rennes). A number of Rubens's study of works after Leonardo's fresco of 'The Battle of Anghiari' which was destroyed in 1557. A drawn version of it by the artist (Paris, Louvre) was based upon Lorenzo Zacchia's engraving of the work of 1558.

Key facts
Artist Peter Paul Rubens
Artist dates 1577 - 1640
Full title A Lion Hunt
Date made about 1614-15
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 73.6 x 105.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG853.1
Location in Gallery Room 18
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