Hound Coursing a Stag

George Stubbs, English, 1724 - 1806

Made in Great Britain, Europe

c. 1762

Oil on canvas

39 3/8 x 49 1/2 inches (100 x 125.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 283, European Art 1500-1850, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, the John D. McIlhenny Fund, and gifts (by exchange) of Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White, Mrs. R. Barclay Scull, and Edna M. Welsh, 1984

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The preeminent painter of animals, George Stubbs elevated what had been the mundane recording of the sports and amusements of the English aristocracy and country gentry to a new artistic and expressive level. The subject of this canvas derives from the grand seventeenth-century hunt paintings of Peter Paul Rubens and Frans Snyders, and prefigures the more emotional themes explored in the nineteenth century by Sir Edwin Landseer. The image itself is horrific: the dog, after a long and exhausting pursuit, has finally succeeded in attaching himself to the stag; the beast, eyes bulging in terror, flings his stately antlers toward his pursuer. Yet what in the nineteenth century would become a dark and moralistic drama is here played out with balletic elegance and complete detachment, the principals placed against a panoramic landscape bathed in a gentle, blond light. Man seems far distant, and something more cosmic and eternal than mere sport is afoot. Joseph J. Rishel, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 181.

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