This series of prints, dedicated to the theme of hunting and engraved by Philips Galle (1537-1612) from drawings by Jan van der Straet (1523-1605), was published for the first time in 1578. The theme of hunting played a major role in van der Straet’s artistic production. Born in Bruges, he lived most of his life in Florence, where he worked for the Medici family, producing, between 1566 and 1577, a first series of preparatory drawings of hunting scenes for tapestries that would be used to decorate this family’s villa in Poggio a Caiano, on the outskirts of Florence. The huge success enjoyed by this initial group of drawings meant that he never again abandoned the theme, producing many other compositions over the following years, which were then transformed into engravings.
The series, of which a part is presented here, was published in the form of an album dedicated to Cosimo I de Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and consisted of a total of 44 engravings etched with a graver. The compositions show various techniques that were used for hunting the different animals and birds existing both inside and outsider Europe, as well as some river fishing techniques. These representations were widely disseminated and exerted a major influence on the European art of his time, serving as a source of inspiration for many other artists.
Alexandra Gomes Markl