The  Hunt  for  the  Majestic

Precious  also  the  Material  –

Vellum !!

Le Brun – Lion Hunt. Partly mounted multi-person group with various headgear, also without, with pike, shorter thrusting weapon, sword and quiver with arrows fighting with two lions, one of which already killed and under cover thrown over together with quiver filled with arrows dominating the lower right of the subject. However, the other one in the center field has got a dismounted hunter under him, whose horse vigorously goes off to the left, while he tries to defend himself with the sword, with his left still fixed in the shield. From the left a bare-headed companion with unidentified thrusting weapon, as also carried by another one, vigorously rushes to his aid just as from above two mounted ones, the right of which, sitting on an animal hide, swinging the pike. Tree & palm accessories. Pen and brown ink over partially throughout, cursory sketch in pencil on vellum with narrow black borderline, possibly from the studio of Charles Le Brun (1619 Paris 1690). 17⅛ × 22½ in (435 × 572 mm).

Wall-efficient  large  work  determined  by  great  pace

of quite yet unsolved questions about genesis and purpose after on occasion of a visit Christian von Heusinger spontaneously rejected with respect to the material as being “much too precious” the possibility of a design for a gobelin by the Manufacture royale des tapisseries directed by Le Brun or, before, Nic. Fouquet’s manufacture

– “ Beside his important organizational and artistic work for tapestry … Le Brun executed together with his assistants … many decorative frescos … ” (Thieme-Becker) –

and suggested by subsequent letter of July 31, 2009, a later creation for the purpose of a transparency as neglected by literature with possible reference to the 1823 lithographic triumph transparency no. 63a of the catalog to the exhibition Art in the Age of Goethe – Drawings and Prints from the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum Brunswick of 1985/86 curated by him. “Probably this is a path to get a little closer to this fine classicist drawing.” A suggestion which is hard to follow here. At least the vellum would not have been used for this for a lack of any perceptible traces of fixing at the back. However, foremost to the opinion here the manly-vigorous general impression of the drawing quite stands out from the archaizing soft style of that period of German art. At least be mentioned also the already older colon after the “o” of the number in brown ink lower right – No: 159. – as also customary with Ridinger (1698-1767).

The attribution to Le Brun on the back not confirmed by Fabian Stein, who graduated on him, from a photo due to the lack of his personal style, however, although

Charles Le Brun, The Passage of the Granicus (detail)

“ Some elements of the figures … (show) similarity to compositions by Le Brun indeed; I think to recollect something comparable i. a. in the Alexander series, for instance for the injured on the ground, the one rushing to his aid, for the horses. However, one should not forget that in such compositions Le Brun frequently ‘quotes’ himself, and for instance refers to Rubens or the Italian School. ”

Charles Le Brun - Lion Hunt Drawing on Vellum (detail)Charles Le Brun - Lion Hunt Drawing on Vellum (detail)

So the injured is the one in the center of the The Passage of the Granicus under the white horse of Memnon competing with Alexander. And the one rushing to his aid in the vellum harmonizes in position and action with the warrior likewise from the left side in the oil, though there he operates on his own and kills an enemy lying on the ground. But also the animal hide as saddle-cloth of the hunter right above corresponds with such of Le Brun’s paintings. Their authorized grandiose print edition by Audran-Edelinck by order of Louis XIV – “ One  can  hardly  imagine  more  beautiful  engravings ” , Thieme-Becker 1908  +  “ Monuments  of  the  history  of  prints ” , AKL 1992 – presently available here in a copy of ultimate beauty of the first state in adequate design binding per 15,272.

And, asking for the possibility of a tracing nonetheless certainly to be answered in the negative,

“ One almost has the impression that for the central group elements from several drawings have been put together. This method was customary … indeed. ”

As for instance Rembrandt’s favorite pupil Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) “frequently took over motifs from etchings and paintings of his master, devised variations thereto or arranged fragments from different works as usual at a training in Rembrandt’s studio (Stefaan Hautekeete in the exhibition catalog edited by him “Holland in [Lines. Netherlandish Master Drawings of the Golden Age from the Royal Belgian Art Museums Brussels]”, Brussels/Amsterdam/Aachen 2007/08, page187/I).

To what the but small horseman between the mightily seen horse going off gallantly and the hunter on foot far left just as the not quite clear group of three far right, which rather remind of independent sketches to the subject, yet are incorporated seamlessly into the whole, could point to indeed. However, by no means the pen follows tracing lines, but orients itself rather only by partially cursory outlines in pencil. In such a way not a fair drawing it should not be ignored that free pen works as not correctable need the master’s hand.

As said, independent of the subject an interesting work, fine for further deepening occupation,

in  which  the  material , however , “far  to  precious” , mustn’t  be  neglected !

The for sheets of this size really just extremely insignificant, practically non-obvious undulation supposedly originating in the warmth of the draughtsman’s hand (cf. Meder, Handzeichnung, page 169). Especially in the upper sky and tree part resp. stained, yet hardly impairing. The utterly smoothed out centerfold perceptible shadowily only anymore. Isolated pin-point sized holes, only one pinhead sized. In the right lower corner said written numbering in brown ink. On the back in pencil: Ch. le Brun. Otherwise impeccable and

filled  by  the  sumptuous  dynamic  of  a  rich  early  big-game  hunt .

Offer no. 15,612 / price on application

“ Received the (original Ridinger printing) plate yesterday. Much Thanks from a satisfied customer. You are a True Gentleman … All the Best! L… F. ”

(Mr. L. A. F., November 5, 2003)