Peter Paul Rubens and Workshop (Flemish, 15771640)
Oil on canvas; 96 5/8 x 148 1/8 in. (245.4 x 376.2 cm)
John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (10.73)
Between about 1615 and 1621, Rubens produced a series of monumental hunting scenes. A painting entitled Wolf and Fox Hunt was sold by him to English diplomat Sir Dudley Carleton in 1617, and another seems to have been purchased by the duke of Aershot. From a comparatively early time, the present painting was in Spain, whence it was removed in 1814 by Joseph Bonaparte; it later passed to the collection of Lord Ashburton. A number of copies of it are known. A drawing by Rubens for part of the composition is at Chatsworth. Like many large paintings of its kind produced in Rubens's workshop, it was executed by a number of different hands. Scholars disagree as to the extent of Rubens's personal participation, some ascribing to him the animals in the foreground and the three heads of huntsmen in the center, and some denying him any share in the execution of the work. The landscape was added after the horses and animals were complete, and has been given conjecturally to Jan Wildens.