Dec 17, 2007
Feb 24, 2012
Feb 24, 2012

Study for "The Bear Hunt" (for the Alcázar, Madrid)

Study for "The Bear Hunt" (for the Alcázar, Madrid)

c. 1639

Peter Paul Rubens

(Flemish, 1577–1640)

Oil on wood

Framed: 70.5 x 40.6 x 7.6 cm (27 3/4 x 16 x 3 in.); Unframed: 26 x 53.7 cm (10 1/4 x 21 1/8 in.)

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1983.69

Did you know?

With just a few quick brushstrokes, Rubens evokes the energy and drama of a ferocious hunt.


On June 22, 1639, King Philip IV of Spain received a letter from his younger brother Ferdinand (1609–1641). The letter explained that the artist Peter Paul Rubens had recently completed all of the sketches for a series of paintings that were to hang in the halls of the Alcázar Palace in Madrid. Bear Hunt is one of seven surviving studies out of the original eighteen. In this scene, a bear attacks a hunter and a companion comes to his aide The others work to stave off a second angry bear. The sketch was completed in the last year Rubens's life, and the paintings for the series were never completed.

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