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HERMITAGE.

DUTCH SCHOOL. 330600 WOUWERMANS.

THE GREAT STAG-HUNT.

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Among the sports of the chace pursued with hounds, hunting the stag is one of the most picturesque , and at the same time, the most difficult and learned , requiring extensive and varied information, and a considerable equipage, of men, horses and dogs, trained to act in concert: this knowledge cannot be attained but by practice , and at great expence; consequently the sport can be enjoyed only by the wealthy, and it is , in fact, almost exclusively, a pastime of Princes.

To represent scenes of this kind, a painter must be master of landscape, skilful in seizing attitudes , and accustomed to paint dogs and horses : he should also possess some practical knowledge of hunting, to avoid improprieties. Wowermans bad carefully studied all these branches,

and accordingly, he often introduces hunting-matches in his pictures.

The one before us is known by the name of the Great Slag-Hunt : it gives a very high idea of the artist's talent, as displayed in his second and best manner.

In 1736, this picture belonged to M. de Verrue ; it after wards pertained successively to the Julienne and Choiseul Collections : at the sale of the latter, it was purchased by the Empress Catherine II, for 750 pounds, and is now in the Gallery of the Hermitage, at St.-Petersburg. It has been engraved by J. Moireau , and by Daudet.

Width 6 feet; height 3 feet 2 inches.

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