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Falconers setting out on a Hunt
Wouwerman, Philips
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Wouwerman, Philips

Haarlem, 1619 - Haarlem, 1668

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Falconers setting out on a Hunt

1665 - 1668. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This painting belongs to a series of scenes of hunting parties at the entrance to country manors or villas built in a classical style. They all document a series of innovations in fashion and dressage, which reveal them to have been painted in the artist`s final phase. In keeping with this chronology, the male characters sport the French clothing and hairstyles that prevailed among the Dutch upper classes after 1665, and the way the horses are ridden -with the legs stretched forwards, causing the body to lean slightly backwards- is the result of an innovation in the art of horse-riding that was introduced at about that time.

True to his mature style, Wouwerman no longer presents a panoramic view with figures inserted into the landscape (P2147 and P2148). Instead, his interest focuses on the figures of men and animals, which, as in the hunting scenes of 1655-60, are placed in the foreground, in front of the landscape. However, the rural setting and buildings of those earlier works (P2152) have, by this stage, been replaced by more refined villas or manor houses in a classical style, depicted with Baroque fountains and sculptures and trees and flora more typical of the South.

The delicate figures of the hunters, their servants and animals -the size of which is once again rather larger than in the phase immediately preceding it -create a frieze that runs horizontal to the picture plane. As is so often the case with Wouwerman, the riders are positioned in such a way that their horses can be depicted from various different angles. Ahuge fountain, invented by the painter, rises up behind the figures, with a sculpture of Neptune standing on his chariot, ready to hurl his trident. This fountain forms a middle ground between the figures and the landscape which opens out onto a horizon that is set at a higher level than that found in the panoramic views of his earlier phase.

The scene is closed in to the right by a horizontal plane -the façade of the mansion house and the garden wall- a compositional device Wouwerman often used in his early works and which he now resumes. The vertical axes of the fountain, the black poplars and the façade of the building counteract the horizontality of the composition. The blue of the sky is reminiscent of the landscapes of the early 1660s (P2147). However, owing to the thin paint layer -indeed, the grey preparation shows through in certain zones- the hues lack the luminosity of former works. In this picture, as in the other hunting scenes in this series, the arrangement of the figures against the background is rather contrived. Moreover, there is also an obvious stylistic difference between these figures and the other compositional elements. This has led Duparc (1993) and Schumacher (2006) to suggest that, in the final years of his career, Wouwerman may have restricted his painting exclusively to figures, leaving other members of his workshop to produce the architecture and landscape backgrounds. Whatever the case, it is certainly true that the landscape here lacks the flowing execution and subtle tonal gradation for which this artist is known.

The theme of the departure for or arrival from a hunt provided Wouwerman with an opportunity to create plenty of narrative genre detail, in which the iconographic influence of Pieter van Laer (1599-after 1642) remains visible. Yet, in these final scenes there are also plenty of references to his own works, which would perhaps suggest a certain slackening in his creativity. Thus, in this case, the group formed by the white horse and the lady that hands over her son to the servant at her side, depicted with her arms raised ready to receive the child, echoes, albeit with female characters, that formed by the saint and the beggar in Saint Martin, dated 1652 (present whereabouts unknown). Further, the horse itself is taken from White Horse inside a Stable, signed and dated 1668, thought the animal`s head in the Haarlem painting is more expressive and better modelled, which seems to confirm the dating of this painting. Falconers setting out on a Hunt was one of the works selected by Madrazo to be included in the Colección litográfica de los cuadros del rey de España (Lithographic collection of the King of Spain) (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 321).


Technical data

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Inventory number
Wouwerman, Philips
Falconers setting out on a Hunt
1665 - 1668
Height: 58.3 cm; Width: 69.5 cm
Royal Collection (colección Felipe V, Palacio de La Granja de San Ildefonso, Segovia, 1727; col. Felipe V, La Granja, pieza de tocador, 1746, n 136; Palacio de Aranjuez, Madrid, pieza en que el rey duerme la siesta, 1794, nº 136; Aranjuez, despacho y dormitorio del rey, 1818, nº 136).

Bibliography +

Inventario: Palacio del Real Sitio de San Ildefonso. La Granja. Inventario general de Pinturas, Muebles y alhajas de la Reina Nuestra Señora que tiene el Palacio del Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, VII, Madrid, 1746, pp. 9, nº136.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis, A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent dutch painters of the seventeeth century, Macmillan and Co, Londres, 1908, pp. nº540.

Ghidini, Luigi, La caccia nell'arte, con riferimenti alla storia della caccia., Milán, 1929, pp. lám.LVIII.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972, pp. 787 n.2150.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 405.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 778-779.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990, pp. 396 n.1467.

Duparc, Frederick J., Wouwerman 1616-1668, Oud Holland, 1993, pp. 257-286.

Homo Ludens : Le Jeu Dans les Collections du Museo del Prado..., Musee Olympique, Lausana, 2000, pp. nº10.

Schumacher, Birgit, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668). The horse painter of the Golden Age, I, Davaco, Gante, 2006, pp. n. A117 Lám.111.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado.Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 178-180.

Maurer, G., Goya: lo bello y lo recóndito. En: La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 242.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., La belleza encerrada: de Fra Angelico a Fortuny, folleto, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2013, pp. 37 n.164.

Mena Marqués, M.; Albarrán, V., Azúa, F. de, La belleza cautiva. Pequeños tesoros del Museo del Prado, Museo del Prado - Obra Social ''La Caixa'', Barcelona, 2014, pp. 148-149.

Prado captive beauty: treasures from the Prado Museum, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, 2015, pp. n.59.

Other inventories +

Inv. Fernando VII, Aranjuez, 1814-1818. Núm. 136.
Despacho y Dormitorio del Rey [...] {20705} 136 / Tres quartas de alto quatro de ancho, varios pasageros a caballo = Wermans

Inv. Felipe V, La Granja, 1746. Núm. 136.
Otro Pays original en Lienzo, de mano del mismo Autor [Bobermans], en que ày varias Figuras â pie, y à Cauallo, entre estas una Muger sobre un Cauallo blanco, con un Niño en los brazos en accion de darle a otra tambien montada, buelta de espaldas, con un Alchon en la mano izquierda. Tiene media vara, y seis dedos de alto; dos tercias y seis de ancho. Marco dordº bronceado, Tallado de meº relieve ... 1

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Aranjuez, 1794. Núm. 136.
Pieza en que el Rey duerme la siesta [...] {101} 136 / Dos pies y 7 dedos de largo, dos pies de alto. Un Pais con distintas figuras entre ellas una muger en un Caballo blanco y un niño en brazos. Wouwersman ... 3400

Inv. Carlos III, La Granja, 1774. Núm. 136.
Media vara y seis dedos de alto dos tercias y seis dedos de ancho diferentes figuras a pie y a caballo entre ellas una mujer a caballo en un caballo blanco con un niño en los brazos en acción de darlo a otra persona que también esta a caballo y vuelta de espalda con un halcón en la mano izquierda = Boberman= en la pieza de vestir=4.500

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1467.
F. Wouwermans. / 1467. Descanso de cazadores. / Una partida de cazadores a pie y a caballo, con algunas señoras, descansando lejos de una casa rustica y junto a una fuente de marmol en que esta la estatua de neptuno, y a la cual se acercan algunos a beber o dar agua a los caballos. (c.l.) / Alto 2 pies, 1 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 6 pulg.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1833.
1833.-(1463-N)- Descanso de cazadores en un parque, junto á una fuente en que está representado Neptuno. / Col. de Felipe V, Pal. de San Ildef.-F.L. / Alto 0.58; ancho 0,70.-L.

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. 77.
SALÓN 1º / ESCUELA HOLANDESA [...] Setenta y siete. Descanso de cazadores junto a una Fuente / de Fel. Wowermans / Lº / 15140

Inscriptions +

Cross of Burgundy or Cross of Saint Andrew, collection’s mark belonging to Felipe V. Front, lower right corner

Inscribed in white. Front, lower left corner

Pais con una fuente y/ varias figuras à caba/llo nº136 J.G./Voubermans.
Scrap of paper. Stretcher

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

PHILS · [anagrama] W
Signed. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

Captive Beauty. Treasures from The Prado Museum
10.10.2015 - 31.01.2016

Captive Beauty. Small Treasures at the Prado Museum
16.07.2014 - 05.01.2015

Captive Beauty. Fra Angelico to Fortuny
21.05.2013 - 10.11.2013

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Homo Ludens. El juego en las colecciones del Museo del Prado
30.05.2002 - 29.09.2002

Homo Ludens: le jeu dans les collections du Museo del Prado
29.05.2002 - 22.09.2002

Displayed objects +

Sculpture: Fuente de Neptuno

Update date: 29-06-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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