A Lion Hunt

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 dates
1577 - 1640
Full title
A Lion Hunt
Date made
about 1614-15
Medium and support
Oil on oak
73.6 x 105.4 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1871
Inventory number
Location in Gallery