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Titian, St Eustace or St Hubert, a drawing

 

Height: 216.000 mm
Width: 316.000 mm

PD 1895-9-15-818

Prints and Drawings

    Titian, St Eustace or St Hubert, a drawing

    Italy, around AD 1515

    The scene is set in a hilly landscape with classical ruins and a viaduct or aquaduct in the background. A figure in contemporary sixteenth-century costume kneels and prays before a stag with a crucifix between its antlers. The identification of the saint is unclear, as Saint Eustace was a Roman martyr who, while secretly hunting on Good Friday, converted to Christianity on seeing this stag. (Pisanello's Vision of St Eustace in the National Gallery, London depicts the same episode). Later, however, his story was also attributed to St Hubert, the patron saint of hunters in the Ardenne region of France in the eighth century.

    Titian (about 1487-1576) was the dominant exponent of Venetian painting for most of the sixteenth century. There are very few certain pen and ink drawings by Titian from his early career. The attribution of many of his early drawings is problematic but most scholars agree that this airy drawing is by the young Titian.

    This image has been squared in black chalk for transfer, though no painting or engraving of this scene is known. An interesting and varied pen stroke has been used to suggest the shadows. The deeper the shadow, the more cross-hatched the pen stroke. This is particularly evident on the stag and the shadows of the bank immediately before of the saint. His horse is drawn more rapidly with longer but vigorous pen strokes for its body and tail. The ruins are summarily sketched in with parallel strokes but the definition of the rise and fall of the slopes in the middle ground is subtle.

    J. Martineau and C. Hope (eds), The Genius of Venice (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1983-84)

    C. Hope, Titian (London, Jupiter books, 1980)

    H. Wethey, Titian and his drawings (Princeton University Press, 1987)

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