Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
- Francisco de Goya
- a hunter with his dog in a landscape
- Point of the brush and irongall ink, with scraping;
numbered by the artist upper right with the brush and wash: 96, and in pen and ink: 42 (Madrazo album III)
- 203 by 141 mm
Mariano Goya y Goicoechea (by 1854);
Federico de Madrazo and/or Román Garreta y Huerta (by circa 1855-1860);
Paul Lebas, Paris;
sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 3 April 1877, lot 55, to Baron de Beurnonville;
his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot,16-19 February 1885, part of lot 49 (1of 18), purchased by Maurice de Beurnonville;
sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 25 June 1986, lot 21, to Peter Jay Sharp
P. Gassier, The Drawings of Goya: The Complete Albums, London 1973, p. 497, listed under 'Lost Drawings' as F.j
A splendid and spontaneous image of a hunter and his dog on a hot and sunny day, before a distant hilly landscape. Captured by Goya in a moment of rest, the huntsman looks almost directly at the painter.
This study was once part of a group of at least eleven hunting scenes with which Goya concluded the Sepia, or Images of Spain, Album (F). The album has the greatest variety of subjects and compositions of all Goya's albums. The drawings are executed in irongall writing ink on Spanish paper, very few with captions to illuminate the subjects. The pages are numbered up to 106 and according to Juliet Wilson-Bareau they appear very similar in size to those of the Inquisition Album (circa 1808-1814) so she is inclined to date it to the same period, circa 1812-20, whereas Eleanor Sayre had placed it much later, circa 1817-20.1
The group of hunting scenes is exceptional in Goya's albums in that it is the only consecutive series of drawings that he made of the same subject. Hunting was a sport he had greatly enjoyed from an early stage in his life and when he moved from Saragossa to Madrid in 1775, he often wrote to his friend Martín Zapater saying how much he missed their hunting expeditions. In 1819 Goya bought a farm at Quinta del Sordo, in the countryside outside Madrid, which he renovated the following year. Whether the artist moved to the farm, or simply used it as a retreat from the city, is unknown, but Juliet Wilson-Bareau has made the interesting suggestion that Goya's presence at the farm may have been the reason for the concentration of beautiful depictions of hunting at that moment in his career.
These delightful drawings always show one or two hunters accompanied by their dogs, captured in action or, like here, in repose. While the dog is still pointing at his game, the hunter is almost posing for the painter; he wears a broad-brimmed hat that casts half of his face in shadow and carries a game bag. Some pentimenti are visible around the hunter's legs (to their left, just above the centre of the dog's back and just below his stomach). Wilson-Bareau has suggested that these appear to outline the first position in which Goya placed the dog: almost in reverse to that in which he now is.
The hunter shooting at birds, in the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, appears to be numbered 97 by Goya in wash, so would have followed the present drawing.2 Of Goya's eight albums of drawings it appears that only the first small album, the Sanlúcar, remained unnumbered. In all the others Goya numbered each drawing, suggesting that the sequence of images was of some importance to him. Most of the pages of the Sepia Album up to number 30 are preserved in the Prado Museum. As Juliet Wison-Bareau, in her description of the pages of this album, writes: 'Despite the relatively small size of these drawings, many are among the most striking and beautiful drawings that Goya ever made'. 3 When Federico de Madrazo was selecting drawings from five of Goya's eight albums for the composite volume of fifty sheets for his own collection (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), he chose twenty-nine sheets from this album alone.
1. See J. Wilson-Bareau, Goya, drawings from his private albums, exhibition catalogue, London, Hayward Gallery, 2001, p. 91
2. Ibid., p. 187, no. 66, reproduced
3. Ibid., p. 92