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Snyders, Frans
Study of Two Dogs Study of Two Dogs
around 1630 around 1630

This oil sketch shows the heads of two dogs, identifiable by their long muzzles and slender paws as hunting hounds. Their intense, almost frenzied expressions relate to the action of the hunt. The dog on the left, seen in three-quarter profile with its head tilted down and its lower jaw obscured, is strongly reminiscent of a dog clamping down on the back of its prey in Snyders’s Boar Hunt, in Dresden, of around 1630, although there the head is turned in the opposite direction. The dog seen here on the right, lying on its back with its forepaws folded over, relates more loosely to the animal trapped underneath the boar in the same painting. Snyder appears to have made a number of studies of animal heads, usually portraying a range of expressions and actions. These may have served partly as studies in preparation for his own paintings but probably also as models to be used by assistants working on variants in his studio. In this function these works closely parallel the painted heads produced by Rubens and Van Dyck and kept in their studios for the same purpose. Likely taken from life, they played an important role in Snyders’s efforts to convey the “raging passions” in animals that had been explicitly recommended for hunting scenes by the Italian theorist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo (1538-1600).

 
Snyders, Frans
Antwerp, Belgium 1579–Antwerp, Belgium 1657 Antwerp, Belgium 1579–Antwerp, Belgium 1657
Study of Two Dogs Study of Two Dogs
around 1630 around 1630
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
overall: 45.5 cm x 60 cm
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2014 Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2014
57-001.27

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