Law and Order in Rubens's Wolf and Fox
Note to Reader:
The authoritative text, with illustrations is published in The
Art Bulletin, LXXVIII, Dec. 1996, 680-706
In 1986, Arnout Balis published the first comprehensive account of
Rubens's hunting pictures in the series Corpus Rubenianum series, laying
for all future studies of the subject. With regard to A Wolf and
Fox Hunt in New York (Fig. 1),Balis resolved the problematic provenance
of this very important
picture, Rubens's first monumental hunting scene. He demonstrated
that it can be identified with the picture that the English ambassador
at The Hague, Sir
Dudley Carleton, was negotiating to buy in 1616-17, but failed to
win when the duke of Aarschot, Philippe-Charles d'Arenberg, outbid
him. The importance
of this finding will become clear below. Moreover, Balis put to rest
the view that the animals in the picture were painted by Frans Snyders,
and he pointed
to "the high quality of execution" throughout. The picture
has been universally admired, with the wolves in particular eliciting
high praise. Rooses'
observation that they are "superb" can be taken as representative.
one significant issue concerning the Wolf and Fox Hunt that Balis
did not address is the subject of the picture, the hunt itself.
He did not comment
on its singularity, nor have others. Contrary to the impression
the picture makes, the scene does not show actual hunting practice,
documented in cynegetic
literature. According to these texts, wolves and foxes are pursued
separately, and different techniques are used in each case. A visual
tradition cannot be
identified as Rubens's source either; depictions of wolf hunts
and depictions of fox hunts exist, but no picture shows them combined.
Furthermore, it is
not only the hunt that is problematic, but, in a certain sense,
animals as well. The ones that Rubens selects are scavengers, which
anyone may hunt,
rather than noble creatures, such as the stag or the boar, whose
chase is the prerogative of the nobility. The lowliness of the
wolf and the fox would seem
to disqualify them from featuring in any major composition, particularly
in the very painting Rubens was using to promote himself as the
of van Orley and Stradanus, the sixteenth-century masters of monumental
hunting imagery. Since there can be no question regarding Rubens's
hunting theory and practice and with the iconography of hunts,
we must assume that his departure from custom was deliberate and
out for considered
reasons. What these may have been is the principal concern of this
study. I argue that Rubens turned to the hunting legislation proposed
by the archdukes
in 1613 for his subject and that this choice had a political aspect.
The share that the science of natural history played in shaping
Rubens's ideas about
the wolf and the fox--a question hitherto overlooked--is considered
here for the first time. Additional issues in this study include
sources, and how the Hunt's original significance may have been
amplified by events in the 1630s.
The Wolf and the Fox in Natural-History Texts
Much of the effect of the picture rests on the vivid depiction
of the wolves and foxes, whose defensive stratagems and ferocious
expressions are entirely
convincing and appear to be based on observations from life. Yet
it is unlikely that participation in an actual hunt accounts for
this verism, since the tumultuous
circumstances of a chase are clearly ill suited for detailed studies;
at best, only an impression could have been gained from witnessing
such an event. Rather,
Rubens may have availed himself of living or dead specimens obtained
from the environs of Antwerp, where wolves and foxes abounded.
If the animal was captured
alive and held in a pen or cage, its physical attributes, movements,
demeanor, and passions, in particular rage and fear, could have
been observed in safety
and at length. Alternatively, a dead animal for a limited time
or stuffed might have been instructive as a model; and a live dog
could have served for the
wolf, since the dog (Canis familiaris), a domesticated descendant
of the wolf (Canis lupus), has the same physical structure as its
ancestor. In the absence
of any surviving preparatory sketches for the animals, however,
these scenarios must remain conjectural. Moreover, the graphic
depiction of the wolves and
foxes cannot be explained merely by positing the use of models.
In Rubens's working process, life drawing, undertaken to clarify
a pose or another significant
feature of a figure, occurred after a composition was well advanced.
Rubens, therefore, had a mental image already in mind before resorting
observation. In this case, various types of literature--in particular,
scientific treatises and hunting manuals--as well as other works
of art were formative
in shaping Rubens's vision of the wild beasts.
The type of scientific
literature that Rubens consulted comes under the heading of natural
history, one of whose chief concerns is
the appearance, habits,
and behavior of animals. Among the ancient authors whom Rubens
probably read in this field are Pliny, Aelian, and Oppian, while
Conrad Gesner (1516-1565)
and Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) were the sixteenth-century
naturalists he seems to have been most familiar with. Indeed, in
1613, he purchased
three-volume Ornithologia and his volumes on insects and aquatic
creatures (De Insectis; De Piscibus), while in 1617 he rounded
out the set with the purchase
of the two- volume study on quadrupeds (De Quadrupedibus). From
Gesner's five-volume Historia Animalium he acquired, in 1613
from the same dealer, Balthasar Moretus,
the treatise on serpents (De Serpentibus). The content of natural-history
literature has great range, and includes empirical observations,
traditional lore, ethical
and religious commentary, pictorial traditions, symbolic meanings,
and medicinal qualities. The early modern texts in particular
are encyclopedic, enlarging
the scope of the material far beyond that addressed in classical
To judge from his various pictures in which animals are central
to the subject, such as Cupid Supplicating Jupiter (Princeton),
Ganymede (Vienna), the Head
of the Medusa (Vienna), and the Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt
(Munich), Rubens employs the textual sources selectively and
critically. In certain instances,
an ekphrastic passage or phrase appears to spark his imagination,
evoking vivid imagery. On other occasions, it is a text's scientific
datum or ethical content
that draws his attention. And when an erroneous view is propounded,
he may disregard it or even show its falsity. The latter response
accounts for an
otherwise puzzling feature of the larger wolf's stance in the
Wolf and Fox Hunt, the turn of its head.
The posture of this riveting figure is a new invention, unlike
that of the smaller wolf, which repeats the spaniel's pose in
Rubens's portrait Giancarlo
Doria (Fig. 2), dating from around 1606. Standing upright to
face the charging knight, the larger wolf turns to defend itself
an attack from behind
(Fig. 3). It holds the threatening partisan with one paw to steady
itself, and furiously bites down on the gleaming blade. To reach
the weapon the wolf
rotates its head an astonishing 180 degrees, a movement that
the animal could not actually perform but that Rubens portrays
plausibly, in fact,
that it has not been mentioned as aberrant. The pose conveys
the impression that the wolf is able to turn its head with ease,
in the neck. This runs counter to traditional knowledge regarding
the wolf, which held that its neck was rigid and, consequently,
incapable of movement.
This belief is encountered in classical
literature in the work of the third-century naturalist Aelian, who
observes that "the neck of a wolf is short and
compressed; the animal is thus incapable of turning but always
looks straight ahead, and if it wants to look back at any time, it
turns its whole body." The
same notion is found in the Middle Ages, in the Bestiary, which
states that the wolf's "neck is never able to turn backward." Later
naturalists endorsed the traditional view, despite its evident falsity,
as Edward Topsell's
1607 translation of Conrad Gesner's text indicates: "The
neck of a wolf stands on a straight bone that cannot well bend.
Therefore . . . the wolf must
turn round about when he looks backwards. The same neck is short,
which argueth a treacherous nature." Despite the overwhelming
authority of tradition, a critical voice appears in Jean de Clamorgan's
treatise on hunting wolves,
foxes, and badgers, published in 1566. Although largely a plagiarism
of Gaston Phoebus's classic hunting manual, de Clamorgan's text
offers novel observations,
including a critique of the conventional view concerning the
wolf's neck. He writes: "Those who claim that the neck of
a wolf is a single bone and does not bend are to be scorned.
Like the necks of other animals, the wolf's
is composed of vertebrae; moreover, we can see [with our own
eyes] that it turns it from side to side. However, it is true
that its neck is very large,
massive, sinewy, fleshy, and very strong."
There is no evidence that Rubens knew de Clamorgan's work,
but the French author was probably not unique in pointing out
earlier error, and Rubens may have
learned about it from other sources or from firsthand experience.
In any case, his critical reading of scientific literature
seems to have been an important
element in his creative process, contributing in no small measure
to his invention of the large wolf's pose and to the selection
of an earlier schema for the
The characterization of wolves in Oppian's Cynegetica, or in
sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century texts based on it
such as Gesner's
History of Animals,
seems to have framed Rubens's conception of the appearance
and behavior of the wolves perhaps even more than empirical
Thus, he does not
portray the indigenous gray wolf that roamed Brabant, as seen
in Pieter Brueghel the Younger's The Good Shepherd Attacked
by a Wolf
(Fig. 4), but the creature
that Oppian identifies as the golden wolf, living beyond the "snow-clad
heights of Taurus." The golden wolf is "beautiful
of aspect . . . brilliant with abundant hair . . . armed with
mouth of bronze, infinite in
might. Many a time he pierces amain the enduring bronze, many
a time he pierces stone or the iron spear." Early modern
scientific texts kept Oppian's content, but discarded its poetic
form; for example, Topsell writes that the
wolf is "able with his mouth and teeth to bite asunder
not only stones but brass and iron." Whether Rubens consulted
the later prose accounts or the original, the resulting image
is astonishing and unlike any previously
represented. The large wolf seizes the hunter's pike in its
powerful jaws, biting down on the blade with its great fangs
in a final desperate defense.
Rubens intensifies the painfulness of this heroic act, causing
the spectator to shudder empathetically, by showing the animal's
tongue pressed against the
sharp edge of the blade.
Rubens may well have selected Oppian's
text on account of its dramatic content and its vivid description,
but his choice
may also rest
on the emphasis that
Oppian places on the wolf's distinguishing feature, its dentition.
This emphasis is in keeping with the general opinion that
the animal's cruel, ravenous, and
rapacious character is embodied in its fangs. Natural historians
refer to the wolf as "saw-toothed," a classification
that Oppian himself uses. He puts the wolf with the hyena,
calling them both "bloody beasts." Aelian,
Oppian's contemporary, likewise characterizes the wolf as
a saw-toothed animal, along with the dog, the lion, and the
In addition to the fang, the claw is recognized
as a distinctive
feature of the wolf by natural historians, who generally
mention these two physical traits
together. Aelian, for instance, remarks that the fangs
and the claws of the wolf--features that it shares with the bear,
leopard, and the lion--make
it bold. Aelian also indicates that fangs and claws are
wolf's natural weapons, a point we shall return to below.
refers to the wolf as "saw-toothed" and "bloody" he
alludes, of course, to the fact that it is carnivorous.
Though this could be taken as a mere statement of fact,
historians, poets, and philosophers
drew ethical lessons from it. Writing a century earlier
than Aelian, Plutarch raised a moral issue in this regard,
influence would reach all the way
to the nineteenth century, where it would culminate with
Tennyson's famous line, "Nature, red in tooth and
discussing the morality of eating flesh, Plutarch argues
that man was not made to eat meat, because
he lacks ''sharp nails" and "jagged teeth";
moreover, man does not "fall upon an animal and eat
it still living," as does a wolf.
Thus man, who lacks both fang and claw, is by nature a
vegetarian and is not instinctually compelled to kill.
these ideas fully in the
Moralia, for instance, in "The Eating of Flesh I," one
of the most influential essays on the ethical dimensions
Thus codified by Plutarch, the topos
of tooth and claw is synonymous with cruel elemental
forces, causing survival
to depend on
violent killing and on the
consumption of raw flesh. The humane traits of reason,
and social life have no role to play in this scheme.
An example of the topos in seventeenth-century
scientific literature is found in John Ray's Historia
Plantarum. Ray, whom Martin Rudwick characterizes as "perhaps
the greatest naturalist of the age," wrote: "certainly
man by nature was never made to be a carnivorous creature;
nor is he arm'd at all for prey and rapin, with gag'd
teeth and crooked claws, sharpened to rend and tear." This
passage was well known among Ray's contemporaries, as
John Evelyn's citation in Acetaria:
A Discourse of Sallets (1699) attests. Evelyn, who espoused
vegetarianism for reasons of ethics and health but was
not himself a strict follower of the regimen,
shared Ray's point of view.
Rubens gives full play to
the savagery that tradition accorded the wolf, as we
saw in regard to the large wolf
is no less evident in the smaller
one. Indeed, the smaller beast displays its claws,
which the stance of the larger wolf does not allow. Rubens
the pointed nail embedded in a thick pad, and with
comparable accuracy he depicts the wolf's saw-toothed maw. The special
Rubens accords to these
features, whose proximity to the picture plane causes
the viewer instinctively to retreat to a safer zone,
a matter of characterizing
the wolf according to its distinctive traits. These
intimate another consequential issue, that nature (or
providence or God)
endows each animal
with the weaponry it needs to protect itself. Rubens
illustrates this point when he shows the wolf biting
down on the blade.
The fang is the wolf's natural
weapon, which it wields against the arms that man crafts.
In this clash, fierce though it may be, man will ultimately
leaves no doubt about
human ascendancy, which is founded on the exclusive
possession of the rational faculty. This anthropocentric position
maintains that God granted man stewardship
of his creation with the expectation that he would
power wisely, benevolently, without injustice or abuse.
In this scheme, there is no question regarding man's
preeminence over the beasts, but what of the beasts
vis-à-vis each other? Natural historians appear
to have placed the wolf over the fox, without formalizing
its position on the scale of being. Gesner, for instance,
observes that "wolves are enemies
to foxes, because they are flesh devouring" and
because "wolves feed
on the flesh of foxes." The wolf is thus the predator
of the fox, which in turn is a predator of small, vulnerable
animals, such as barnyard fowl.
In the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries, this type
of relationship was cast in terms of contrary forces,
which were said to account for both harmony and
conflict in the cosmos; some named these forces antipathy
and sympathy, others love and hate, or friendship and
enmity. These forces acted not only on man
and animals, but also obtained for plants and even
minerals. Erasmus gave wide currency to this idea in
the colloquy Sympathy. A passage from Gervase Markham's
1611 treatise on estate management shows the application
of this notion to
hunting. He writes: "Hunting is then a curious
search or conquest of one beast over another, pursued
by a natural instinct of enmity, and accomplished
by the diversities and distinction of smells only,
wherein Nature, equally dividing her cunning, giveth
both to the offender and offended strange knowedge
both of offence and safety." In view of the date
when this was written and the currency of its ideas,
it seems fair to suggest that Rubens and his
audience may well have regarded the Wolf and Fox Hunt
in similar terms.
Finally, mention should be made of
certain beliefs regarding the wolf that were widely
reported in natural-history
texts and hunting
manuals and that
permeated popular custom. According to these sources,
the wolf renders a man mute by merely gazing at him.
this power to the wolf's
venomous sight and breath, which the hunting authority
Jacques du Fouilloux traces to a diet of poisonous
Because the venom lodged in the
fang, contact with it was deadly. However, this lethal
property also made it a curative, according to homeopathic
medical theory and practice. A wolf's
tooth was a popular amulet, as de Clamorgan writes
and as seventeenth-century Antwerp inventories attest,
protecting its wearer, often a young child, against
toothaches, teething trouble, and other ailments. The
baby girl seated on her
mother's lap in Marten de Vos's 1577 Portrait of the
Anselme Family holds a rattle with just such a tooth
affixed to it (Fig. 5).
On account of the wolf's baleful traits a wolf hunt was considered exceptionally
dangerous for the hunter and for the dogs involved. Since most dogs were said
to be afraid to take part, particularly when the quarry was an old wolf, only
the boldest ones were selected. The breeds recommended in cynegetic manuals
are running hounds, bloodhounds, and greyhounds. However, according to one
author, Gaston Phoebus, the greyhound had to be enticed into this hunt. It
seems that the dog's reluctance arose from its unique vulnerability to the
wolf, which instinctively went for the hound's slender legs and sensitive muzzle,
and crushed its skull with its powerful jaws. Except for the bloodhound which
bites into the wolf's back, the pack in the Wolf and Fox Hunt consists of greyhounds,
which have driven the quarry to bay, allowing the hunters to close in for the
kill. Their prominence, while reflecting actual hunting practice according
to the literature, also depends on their social identity, their status as the
preeminent dogs of the nobility.
Unlike the wolves, the three foxes in the Hunt
are not pictured in sensational poses. One lies dead, another has
been thrown on its side, apparently struck
down by the horse, while the third prepares to
flee. Similarly, their expressions lack the high rhetoric of the
wolves, showing no sign of having been inspired
by ekphrastic texts. The ancients, in fact, are
reticent about the fox: Pliny and Plutarch are silent; Aelian mentions
it in passing, mainly in connection
with other animals; Oppian alone briefly describes
its habits and nature: "the
most cunning of all beasts of the field . . . warlike of heart and wise." Thus,
lacking a vivid textual description of the fox's appearance, Rubens turned
to nature itself for a model. Specimens were probably examined for the color
and texture of the pelt and for physiognomic traits, such as the snout and
the teeth, since these features in particular have the ring of truth. The foxes'
behavior as well seems to be based on close observation from live models, especially
that of the fox on the left that hides its tail between its legs, appearing
to cower in fear (Fig. 6). While this act seems symptomatic of panic, in fact
it is a defensive stratagem. Although authorities differed on specifics, they
agreed that the fox deliberately soiled itself to elude capture. Phoebus, for
instance, wrote: "if he [the fox] is hunted in open country, he shits
on himself so that the greyhounds will leave him alone, because of the foul
smell he has." Gesner, on the other hand,
explained the action somewhat differently:
When the dogs are pressed neer unto him
[the fox], and are ready to bite him, he striketh his tail
betwixt his legs, and with his own urine wetteth the same,
and so instantly striketh it into the Dogs mouths, whereof
when they have tasted, so many of them as it toucheth will
commonly leave off and follow no farther.
Rubens illustrates this action with characteristic
decorum, intimating but not actually showing the fox relieving
itself. Within Rubens's circle the motif gained currency, as
the Fox Hunts by Paul de Vos in Antwerp (Fig. 7), Ghent, and
Kassel attest. The fox's behavior pointedly emphasizes the creature's
defining trait--wiliness--which the action of the stricken fox
on the right of Rubens's picture instances as well. This animal
strains to sink its fangs into the hind hock of the dappled steed
in retaliation for the injury it has suffered, and, more important,
to panic the horse so as tomake its escape in the ensuing tumult.
With his attention focused on the wolves, the rider is ignorant
of his perilous circumstance, and could even be faulted for a
lack of circumspection regarding the fox, whose craftiness makes
it a foe no less dangerous than the wolf. Whether Rubens intended
this incident to carry allegorical instruction aimed at his noble
clientele is not clear, but that the fox evoked quite specific
moral and political associations deriving from its role in the
beast epic Roman de Renard, as well as in fable literature, cannot
In the fables of antiquity, the cunning fox is unnamed; however, in medieval
beast epics not only is the creature named, it is also anthropomorphized, first
in the Latin poem Ysengrimus (mid-twelfth century), written for a monastic
audience in the Netherlands, and later in the French text Roman de Renard,
known in no less than twenty-eight versions, composed between 1174 and 1250.
In France, the popularity of the romance was so great that the very name of
the character, Renard, supplanted goupil as the term for fox. Also in vogue
in the Netherlands by the fourteenth century, Reynaert de Vos is among the
earliest secular texts published there, appearing in incunabula printed at
Gouda (1479) and Antwerp (1487). As late as the seventeenth century, the text
was still widely read in the Netherlands, where, in 1642, it was listed among
titles appropriate for use in Antwerp schools.
The Roman de Renard is a moralizing narrative that takes place in the feudal
realm ruled by King Noble the Lion. The cunning, thieving Lord Renard, who
commits an array of nefarious deeds against a multitude of small and large
creatures, is brought to court to stand trial for having violated the wife
of his most powerful adversary, Ysengrin the wolf. By artful manipulative arguments
Renard saves himself from condemnation, tricking even the king into believing
that he is repentant for his misdeeds when he swears to undertake a pilgrimage
to make amends. As soon as Renart is at a safe distance from court, however,
he renounces his oath and returns to his former habits.
In both Renard and Ysengrin, as well as in a host of minor characters, such
as Chanticleer the cock, Coward the hare, and Bruin the bear, feudal aristocracy
recognized types within their own milieu. While Ysengrin exemplifies the brawny,
predatory lord whose transgressions are driven by rapacious greed, Renard is
subtle and treacherous, a nobleman whose lies are veiled by a certain pathos.
What advantages him most of all isan unerring gift for discerning his opponent's
pyschology and adroitly manipulating its weaknesses to benefit himself. In
this respect Renard is the consummate politician. This identification is recalled
in that most famous of political handbooks, Machiavelli's The Prince (1514).
Machiavelli advises the prince to take instruction from the lion and the fox.
The fox, he observes, cannot defend itself against
the wolf and needs a lion for protection; in turn the lion requires the aid
of a fox to identify traps laid for its capture. "Those who simply act
like lions are stupid. So it follows that a prudent ruler cannot and must not
honor his word when it places him at a disadvantage," that is, he must
model his behavior after the crafty fox: "those who have known best how
to imitate the fox have come off the best."
Besides these references, two additional
citations regarding the significance of the fox should be noted.
They are pertinent because they appear in texts
of considerable importance to the art of the period. In the
widely read Trattato dell'arte della pittura, scoltura et architettura
(1584), the sixteenth-century
painter and theoretician Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo refers to
the fox in a chapter treating the symbolism of animals. Listed
in alphabetical order, each creature
is identified with one or two traits; for the fox these are
cunning and fraud. A similar enumeration appears in Karel van
Mander's Van de Wtbeeldinghen der
Figuren (1604), appended to his Het Schilder-Boeck. Van Mander
selects maliciousness as the fox's distinctive quality. He writes: "The
fox signifies maliciousness or the malicious man. A fox's pelt
sewn together with a lion's skin signifies
deception and power."
Though not counted among the canonical works of natural- history literature,
the texts considered in the preceding paragraphs nevertheless overlap with
that body of knowledge, and help to illuminate the significance of the fox
in Rubens's picture. With lively strokes they draw a vivid portrait of the
animal's moral physiognomy, which agrees remarkably with the painting's representation;
cunning, deceit, treachery and malice are clearly figured in the fox.
Hunting the Wolf and Fox according to Cynegetic Manuals
Roy Modus et Royne Racio (1354-79), the earliest cynegetic
manual to give an account of wolf hunting, identifies three
methods: "par forche," pursuing
the wolf with dogs; "a bisonner," trapping the wolf with a net; and "aus
aguilles," concealing needles in a carcass. Four additional
techniques are identified by Phoebus in Le Livre de Chasse
(1387-91): ropes, pit traps,
noose traps, and poison. Only par force hunting was recreational
and considered a sport by the aristocracy. The other methods
were proper to trappers locally
authorized to control wolves, as was the case in Germany
and Scotland. Later manuals merely repeat these methods
for catching and killing wolves. For example,
de Clamorgan closely follows Phoebus's tract. Where the
texts differ is in the section dealing with the natural
of the wolf; de Clamorgan updates
his account by including contemporary references. Incidentally,
this is the only manual devoted exclusively to the wolf.
Since the hunt portrayed in Rubens's
picture is par force, this particular method will be explained,
wth reference to Phoebus's text.
Phoebus instructs the seigneur to have a horse or other large animal killed
and quartered, and its parts dragged along to leave a scent trail to the carcass,
which is left in the forest. In the morning, a hunter is sent to check the
remains, and if wolves are still present, to observe
them from the safety of a tree. Once the wolves withdraw, the hunter returns
to the seigneur to report his findings. Next a bloodhound is led around the
perimeter of the forest to determine whether the wolves are still there. To
encourage the wolves to remain in the forest, a live animal is tethered to
a tree as bait. After the wolves kill it and remain with the carrion for two
nights, the nobleman is advised to gather his people, including hunters and
farmers, and to prepare them for the chase, which occurs on the following day
at daybreak. Phoebus then describes two methods of encirclement, which is the
next step in the hunt. In the first instance, bloodhounds are led to the trails
where the wolves are accustomed to run in order to cut off their flight, and
hunters light fires and talk and sing loudly. The second method is the "titre," a
formation of men and dogs in a semicircle. "Then the hunter should ride
close to his dogs and blow the horn to encourage and embolden them, since many
fear wolves." The wolf is finally taken when a pair of greyhounds confronts
it, while two or three couples close in from behind. De Clamorgan remarks that
a wolf hunt can be a lengthy chase, lasting as long as eight or ten hours.
For a description of par force fox hunting
we must turn again to Phoebus, whose treatise is more detailed
than any other in this regard. William Twiti, in
The Art of Hunting (1327), for instance, remarks that
the fox hunt is pursued according to the rules of venery, but
no specifics are given. Phoebus, on the
other hand, not only describes the hunt, but also gives
particulars about the fox's habitat. According to him, the fox
lives in various terrains, including
forests, thickets, vineyards, warrens, near hamlets
and villages, and on the outskirts of cities. On the night before
the hunt the lairs are stopped to
prevent the fox from entering them. Then, in the morning,
the hunters with their greyhounds assemble downwind. Once the
fox begins to run, a third of
the hounds are released; as they tire, they are spelled.
Finally, when the fox is sighted, the entire pack is set loose "for
a very good chase."
The Iconography of the Wolf Hunt and the Fox Hunt
Before the last third of the sixteenth century, the
wolf hunt and the fox hunt were seldom depicted, and
then only in small format. Fine examples are found
in manuscripts, such as MS Fr. 616, the splendid Gaston
Phoebus of around 1400, in the Bibliothèque
Nationale, Paris (Figs. 8, 9). In 1567, the situation
changed, when Cosimo de' Medici commissioned Stradanus
to design hunting tapestries for Poggio a Caiano, the
Medici villa outside Florence. Completed in 1578,
the twenty-eight tapestries, included a chambre of
four pieces, showing various kinds of wolf hunts--with
nets, toils, traps, and shotgun--and a single one
depicting the hunt of the fox and the hare. The latter,
which is lacking, is illustrated here with the preparatory
drawing (Figs. 10-13). These remained
the only large-scale treatment until Rubens painted
A Wolf and Fox Hunt in 1616. Stradanus's tapestry designs
became known through prints, engraved and
published in Antwerp by Hieronymus Cock and Philip
Galle. Cock issued engravings of six scenes in 1570,
but the wolf hunts and the fox and hare hunt were not
among them. After Cock's death in 1570, his widow published
scenes, this time with two wolf hunts--with toils and
with firearms--and the hare and fox hunt. Stradanus
then designed forty-three new hunting scenes for
engraving by Galle; these appeared in an unnumbered
set in 1578, and in a numbered one in 1580. In 1602,
Galle again issued hunting scenes by Stradanus, adding
another sixty-one to the 1578 and 1580 sets. The Wolf
Hunt with Toils and the
Wolf Hunt with Traps and Shotgun were included in the
1602 publication (Figs. 14, 15).
Stradanus's designs exercised considerable influence on contemporary hunting
imagery, as the work of Jost Amman (1582), Hans Bol (1582), and Antonio Tempesta
attests. However, these artists apparently did not regard Stradanus's wolf
hunts as authoritative, because each treated the subject independently. A comparison
between Stradanus's and Amman's par force hunt of the wolf with toils illustrates
this point. Whereas Stradanus focuses attention on the mounted hunter, who
turns to strike the wolf, Amman concentrates on the beast as it flees from
its human and animal pursuers (Fig. 16).
Graphic work was most likely Rubens's starting point, but the Wolf and Fox
Hunt bears little resemblance to this heritage. Rubens's interest lies mainly
in individual motifs, such as the mounted hunters and noblewoman, and men on
foot, rather than in the compositional arrangements of his precursors. Indeed,
his picture is a radical departure from the received traditions in this regard.
Uniting planar and recessional designs and a central axis with a diagonal rising
from left to right, Rubens constructs a composition that seamlessly blends
classical and Baroque tendencies. The picture's low horizon dramatically silhouettes
the figures against the sky and eliminates the anecdotal detail in the middle
and far distance favored by Stradanus and his followers. These features are
significant departures from sixteenth-century hunting imagery, where a high
horizon is conventional, the terrain consists of rolling hills, and observers
are stationed on a prominence in the foreground surveying the hunt. Bernard
van Orley, Stradanus, and Tempesta often use these configurations, although
not exclusively. In an alternative arrangement, which also has the high horizon,
the hunt climaxes in the foreground.
Although Rubens staffed his hunt with types found in scenes by Stradanus and
Tempesta, he did not turn to them for exempla in all cases. The mounted hunters,
for instance, are based on his own pictures: the model for the horse and rider
galloping in on the left is the equestrian portrait of the Genoese nobleman
Giancarlo Doria (Fig. 2); and the prototype for the hunter on the rearing gray
is the central horseman in the so-called Riding School (around 1612; Fig. 17).
However, the inventions of Stradanus and Tempesta play a role indirectly at
least, since Rubens apparently consulted them when designing the earlier equestrian
pictures. As for the men on foot on the left, advancing toward the wolves,
Rubens went directly to Stradanus and Tempesta for the motif (Fig. 18). Finally,
though noblewomen are part of the tradition of cynegetic imagery, Tempesta
alone, in two etchings, shows a woman in attendance at a wolf hunt (Figs. 19,
In this discussion, the composition of A Wolf and Fox Hunt and its motifs have
been considered in relationship to hunting iconography, to identify traditional
motifs and to recognize new ones in the picture. In this regard, one further
observation should be made. Only in Rubens's piece are wolves heroic, resisting
their attackers even in the face of overwhelming force. All other par force
hunting scenes show wolves in flight, trying to elude capture, or if cornered,
attacking the hounds but not the hunters. In Stradanus's tapestry design, for
instance, the wolf's small size and mangy appearance make it little more than
a nasty pest, despite its snarling expression (Fig. 21). Moreover, Stradanus
does not endow the animal with the capacity to mount a credible resistance.
On the other hand, Rubens portrays the wolves as true warriors, strong, armed
by nature, fearless, and fierce in the heat of battle. That he knowingly heroicized
the wolf to make it an opponent worthy of the noble hunters is reflected in
a comment that he reportedly made in February 1616, which the Englishman Toby
Matthew communicated to Sir Dudley Carleton:
For in this peece the beasts are all alive,
and in act eyther of escape or resistance, in the expressing
wherof Snyders doth come short of Rubens, and Rubens saith
that he should take it in ill part, if I should compare Snyders
with him in that point. The talent of Snyders is to represent
beasts but especiallie Birds altogether dead, and wholly without
The very phrase used to characterize the
animals in the Wolf and Fox Hunt, "in act eyther of escape
or resistance," actually paraphrases Lomazzo's remark about
Leonardo's painting of a lion and dragon in combat. According
to Lomazzo, this picture was carried out "with so greate
skill, that all the beholders doubted which of them woulde conquer,
so well he expressed in each of them the motions of defense and
offence." Following this account, Lomazzo cites stanzas
from Ariosto's Orlando Furioso that describe the appearance and
behavior of various animals, and recommends that painters seek
such like examples . .. whereby it will
easily appeare, after what sorte the diverse motions of livinge
creatures should bee expressed, when we cannot come to drawe
them by life. Only the reading of Poets, Historiographers,
and other writers, will help us for the understanding of the
natures and formes of living creatures.
As the earlier discussion indicates, Rubens
took Lomazzo's advice to heart.
In this connection, a detail which has gone
unremarked about the horses should be mentioned, the spittle
on their lips. Its representation may well owe its
origin to Pliny's reports of how Protogenes and Nealkes painted
foam on the lips of animals. Unable to achieve the naturalistic
effect he desired with
a brush, "it was foam painted with the brush, not frothing from the mouth," Protogenes,
in frustration, hurled a sponge at the picture of a dog he was
painting, achieving by chance what he could not accomplish intentionally.
Nealkes likewise represented
foam by tossing a sponge at the picture of a horse. Apparently
intrigued by these stories, Rubens, too, tried his hand at painting
froth on the lips of
the horses. Actually, this was not the first time he had attempted
this effect. The same detail appears in the 1606 equestrian portrait
of Giancarlo Doria
(Fig. 2), although in that piece the spittle runs down over the
animal's lips, rather than forming spume. Rubens continued to paint
this effect in later representations
of horses, as the Ferdinand, Cardinal Infante of Spain (Madrid,
Prado) attests. In contrast to the ancients, however, a brush alone
suffices for Rubens. With
this detail he brings the horses to life. Like the beads of perspiration
dripping from the forehead of the ruddy horn blower, the foam on
the horses' muzzles
testifies to animate existence, to breath itself. As it is exhaled,
the breath froths the secretions which flow from mouth and nostril
at this moment of high
In this section, discussion has focused on hunting iconography
after 1567, the date of Stradanus's tapestry designs for the Medici.
What has not been
considered yet is Rubens's interest in early Netherlandish hunting
imagery, which is well documented. He owned a drawing of a hawking
party by Bernard
van Orley, which he retouched, and he made two drawings after fifteenth-century
Netherlandish tapestries depicting Burgundian courtiers hawking
and hunting the boar. As in other studies in the London Costume
Book (ca.1609-12), dress
is the artist's main focus. Besides Burgundian court styles, sixteenth-century
Netherlandish and German attire is carefully recorded, as are garments
from Turkey, Russia, and China. Although Rubens did not go back
as far as the fifteenth
century for costume models for the Wolf and Fox Hunt, he did draw
upon sixteenth-century styles for certain aspects of the nobility's
attire. This was done selectively,
with older and contemporary fashions worn together. The hunter
on the rearing horse shows this most distinctly. From his waist
down--riding shorts, leggings,
and boots--the garments are modish. Identical apparel is worn,
for instance, by the young Louis XIII in Crispijn de Passe the
Younger's illustrations for
Antoine Pluvinel's riding manual Maneige royal, published in Paris
in 1623, but drawn about 1617 (Fig. 22). The black hat, on the
other hand, resembles
sixteenth-century bonnets, like the ones depicted in the Hunts
of Maximilian tapestries (Fig. 23) or related pieces by van Orley
and his circle, such as
the Paris drawing, The Nobleman Discovers the Lovers (Fig. 24).
As for the skintight shirt, this seems to have no connection either
to the past or to
the present, but to be an invention by Rubens. If we turn to the
other mounted hunter, we find that his bonnet is anachronistic
too. It is styled like the
youth's in the 1519 engraving of a dandy holding a skull by Lucas
van Leyden, except that it has but one feather (Fig. 25). The lady's
costume is similarly is reminiscent of sixteenth-century dress
(Fig. 26). Her feathered beret, ornamented
with magnificent jewelry, resembles the hat worn by the woman on
the right of the woodcut Of Dress and Finery of the Body (Fig.
27), designed by Hans
Weiditz for a German edition of Petrarch's De rebus utriusque fortunae,
published in Augsburg in 1532. Rubens copied many figures from
this book around 1598-1600,
including the one just mentioned (Fig. 28). Although a specific
source for the noblewoman's hair style cannot be identified, the
long plaits recall those
worn by a Sibyl in Rubens's Costume Book, drawn after a sixteenth-century
figure (Fig. 29). Finally, the lady's revealing, off-the-shoulder
bodice, which certainly
does not correspond to contemporary riding and hunting dress, brings
to mind late fourteenth- and early sixteenth-century fashions (Figs.
Scholars have related the archaizing aspect
of the hunters' garments to Rubens's revival of the courtly hunting
scene, but its significance
extends much further.
It is indicative of an interest in regional history that was
widespread in the Spanish Netherlands, largely on account of
during the two decades of their rule--1599-1621. When Albrecht
and Isabella became sovereigns of the Netherlands in 1599, they
supported research on the
history of their territories as part of a policy to develop a
sense of national identity, a consciousness of patria, as embodied
dynastic history and the
history of local religious institutions. To this end antiquarian
research for a history of Brabant was carried out by the archducal
Grammaye. A history of the counts of Burgundy, which was to conclude
with the archdukes themselves, also received support. Integral
to this program was visual
documentation. Antoine de Succa, the Antwerp painter, antiquarian,
and customs official, was directed to investigate effigies of
the archdukes' ancestors
in 1600. In the following year, he visited cities in Flanders
and Brabant to make drawings of figures having historical interest,
after medieval and Renaissance
sculptures, paintings, tapestries, miniatures, seals, medals,
coins. Additional research was carried out by de Succa in 1608
and 1615. The annotated drawings,
which were assembled in notebooks called Mémoriaux, were
made available to other artists to study and copy. Rubens is
the best-known master to avail
himself of this information; his copies are in the Costume Book
Rubens's romantic evocation of the "good old days" in
the Wolf and Fox Hunt was thus well suited to the tastes of the
archdukes and to their political
ambitions. It should also be pointed out that Rubens's blend
of current modes of attire along with earlier ones was probably
to show historical continuity
insofar as the nobility was concerned. For just as the nobility
had exercised the privilege of hunting in the past, so their
descendants continued to enjoy
the same prerogative in the present day.
Hunting Regulations in the Spanish Netherlands
In the Spanish Netherlands, the lengthy civil war led to a dramatic
increase in the wolf population by the turn of the century, causing
hardship to the region. Wolves had been drawn to the area by
the war, where they found sustenance on the battlefield, feeding
carrion. Reproducing without
hindrance, they roamed agricultural lands and forests, forcing
farmers to abandon their tenancies and flee, and killing off
game in the chases or game preserves.
They also menaced travelers, making it unsafe to transport goods
by land. By 1612, the situation had deteriorated to such a degree
that the archdukes could
no longer remain passive. They wrote an eighteen-point hunting
proclamation to address the situation, explaining in the introduction: "We have received
news that wolves are increasing daily in the Antwerp area, endangering both
men and animals." The ordinance instructs every town to appoint a wolf
hunter, to keep its hunting paraphernalia in readiness, and to organize its
men in a militia prepared to obey orders and stay with the hunt until it was
concluded. Rewards and fines are stipulated, and article eleven requires every
town to keep a dated record of "all wolves, young or old,
which have been shot or trapped."
An additional hunting law was published
on August 31, 1613. Its scope was far more extensive than in
the previous year, covering
all facets of hunting in
116 articles. In fact, it was the most extensive hunting legislation
ever promulgated in the Spanish Netherlands. Moreover, it is
the first piece of uniform legislation
that the archdukes issued for all the provinces, and in this
respect it reveals their political aim of unifying the provinces
consistent set of laws.
The introduction explains its origin: "because there is little order regarding
hunting, and we have received many complaints from our governors in the provinces,
because the edicts of our predecessors and our own edicts have not been maintained
and observed." Except for Brabant, where the provincial
council rejected the legislation, since it conflicted with
law, it was adopted
throughout the Spanish Netherlands.
Rather than public safety, which the 1612 legislation addressed, the focus
of the 1613 edict is the restoration of the chase, the preeminent sport of
the nobility, which the civil war in the Netherlands had curtailed. During
the years of disorder, poachers and brigands took advantage of the circumstances
to kill game wantonly, causing the stock to decline precipitously. The Twelve
Years' Truce, which was signed in 1609, gave the archdukes the opportunity
to undertake conservation policies aimed at replenishing the preserves and
the incentive to carry them out, since with the cessation of hostilities the
nobility had the leisure to hunt. The 1613 edict is the archdukes' detailed
response to this problem.
The legislation treats the wolf hunt in
three articles, only one of which number 58, has a direct bearing
on Rubens's Wolf
Hunt. It speaks of "the
hunt of the fox and of the wolf," combining the two
hunts into a single enterprise, contrary to tradition. This,
is Rubens's point of departure
for the exceptional subject of his picture.
58. As for the hunt of the fox and of
the wolf, which has always been allowed, we too permit it
in winter, when snow is on the ground, as well as in other
seasons, provided it is done in the presence or with the
consent of an officer, who usually has this responsibility,
or by those vassals who have the privilege and the right
to hunt with a pack of dogs, a horn, and a good number of
people who can raise a very noisy halloo. Hunters who take
a fox or a wolf in this manner will receive a reward, paid
from the province's annual "tour du loup," which
is collected by the officer or by his delegate. Communities
and villages will provide them with food, but nothing else
Thus, article 58 begins by reaffirming the
traditional right to hunt the wolf and the fox and defines their
hunting season. Unlike other animals, whose chase is restricted
for reasons of conservation and to protect crops from being trampled,
wolves and foxes may be hunted year round, with the proviso that
the hunt is authorized. Next, the regulation prescribes the hunting
party: it is to consist of a large group of able-bodied men led
by an official appointed by the archdukes or by a seigneur with
rights of high justice, permitting him to hunt on his own domain
and the land under his jurisdiction. His status is indicated
by a pack of hounds and by a hunting horn. According to article
31, ownership of a hunting horn is limited to a vassal with the
rights and privileges of hunting, to a village in the domain
of the archdukes, where the horn is guarded by an appointee of
the grand veneur, or to a nobleman privileged to maintain a hunting
pack. Only when the horn is carried along (sous la conduite de
telle trompe) is hunting permitted.
The elements of the hunt mentioned here
correspond to "the noble hunt," which
is identified with the Brabantine adage "to hunt fur with fur, and feather
with feather." The sole purpose of the noble hunt is recreation,
a passetemps. A vassal's prerogative, the noble hunt authorizes
only hounds for the chase,
a sword for administering the coup de grace, and a hunting horn.
Firearms, nets, and other mechnical aids are forbidden. A patent
sign of status, the
noble hunt embodied conservative values; the old ways over newer
The parallels between article 58 and Rubens's
Wolf and Fox Hunt are striking indeed, and strongly suggest that
Rubens based his
picture on a reading of
it. The article accounts for the picture's most problematic aspect,
a combined hunt of wolves and foxes, as well as its other distinctive
leading the hunt, their band of retainers, and the pack of hounds.
The noblewoman's presence, though sanctioned by pictorial convention,
is also explained by the
article's allusion to the adage defining a noble hunt. Carrying
a goshawk, the noblewoman alludes to the hunt of "feather with feather." In
addition, she may also refer to the sovereign rights of Netherlandish
territorial princes, as codified on seals. One popular image,
showing the suzerain mounted
on a horse with a hawk and hounds, was often used by female rulers,
such as Jeanne, countess of Flanders and Marie, duchess of Burgundy,
to indicate territorial
dominion (Fig. 33). Thus, the noblewoman is not merely a charming
addition whose existence serves to underscore masculine physique
and prowess, but also
an important figure in her own right on account of what she represents.
As for the horn, its legal significance is recognized by the
in the very center of the picture. Finally, the hunt occurs in
a verdant landscape, in keeping with the article's lack of seasonal
While the correspondences argue powerfully for article 58 as the point of departure
for the Wolf and Fox Hunt, this identification does not explain Rubens's motives
for selecting it in the first place. Presumably he chose this exceptional subject
because he believed that it would appeal to certain clients whom he had in
mind. Much about his aims and the social milieu that the picture was intended
to address can be learned from a study of its early history.
The History of A Wolf and Fox Hunt
When Sir Dudley Carleton, the newly appointed English ambassador
to the United Provinces, traveled through Antwerp on a diplomatic
mission in August 1616,
he visited Rubens's studio and there saw A Wolf and Fox Hunt.
The picture apparently impressed him deeply, because after he
to The Hague, he directed Toby
Matthew and George Gage, his agents in the Spanish Netherlands,
to negotiate its purchase. From their correspondence we learn
that the piece was completed
before October 1616, and that Rubens remarked that he had erred
in making the work so large--according to Matthew, it was 18
feet long and between 11 and
12 feet high--because "in making the picture so very bigge, . . . none
but great Princes have houses fitt to hang it up." By the beginning of
February 1617, the duke of Aarschot, Philippe-Charles d'Arenberg, had purchased
the work for £100, according to Matthew. The agent also noted that Archduke
Albrecht had seriously considered buying it "long ere this," but
had changed his mind because he did not have a chamber large enough to accomodate
the picture, other than the great hall. Matthew commented that such a hall
was not really appropriate since it was not private but a semipublic or public
space: it "is yours, or mine, as much as his." Whether
the information about the archduke's interest in the painting
was merely rumor and whether
Rubens himself had mentioned it to Carleton's agent are unclear,
but the report should be taken seriously in any case. We may
infer that Rubens painted the
hunting scene with the archdukes in mind as potential clients,
but when they decided not to purchase the picture, either for
the reason stated or for some
other, he sought new customers. The connection with the archdukes
surely would have made the picture more desirable, and its size,
though problematic, was
turned into a virtue by Rubens, who emphasized that its dimensions
made the piece appropriate for a prince's residence alone, a
remark calculated to appeal
to the dignity and sense of importance of his clients. Rubens's
strategy was effective: not only did he sell the painting to
the duke of Aarschot; he also
made a reduced copy for Carleton.
Philippe-Charles d'Arenberg (1587-1640), named
duke of Aarschot in 1616, is one of the tragic figures of his day
(Fig. 34). Having
attained the highest
honors in the Hapsburg Netherlands, including the order
of the Golden Fleece, he fell from grace in 1634, and spent the last
six years of his life under
house arrest in Madrid. The arrest occurred while he was
diplomatic mission in Spain. Charged with requesting Philip
IV to grant the
States General of
the southern Netherlands the power to negotiate a truce
or peace with the United Provinces, Aarschot was sent to Spain in
1633 as the "premier
membre de la Noblesse du Brabant" (the highest-ranking
member of the nobility of Brabant). Although initially
great consideration by Philip
IV, he was denounced four months after his arrival, accused
of participating in the 1632 conspiracy to overthrow Spanish
in the Netherlands. While
admitting knowledge of the plot, he denied involvement
in it and maintained his innocence. Despite letters from
Isabella written on his
behalf, Aarschot was imprisoned for some months before
under house arrest, in December 1634. Three years later
his wife and eldest son joined
him, but they were not allowed to reside in his quarters.
Aarschot's depressing and restrictive circumstances brought
on a debilitating
disease, to which he
succumbed in 1640. Shortly before his death, Philip IV
sent word that his case was under review and a favorable
outcome was expected;
the duke was too ill
to rally, however, and he died the day after receiving
the king's message.
When Aarschot acquired the Wolf and Fox
Hunt in 1617, he was apparently on good terms with Rubens, but
by 1633 the relationship
Gerbier attests. On January 28, 1633, Gerbier wrote: "The duke d'Arschot
has a great aversion to [Rubens], for several reasons too long to relate." The
estrangement between them reached its high point after Rubens failed to wait
on Aarschot, when the latter made a twenty-four-hour stopover in Antwerp, while
on his way to the Dutch Republic. Both men were involved in peace negotiations
at The Hague, Aarschot as representative of the States General, Rubens as an
unofficial observer and negotiator for the archduchess. Before setting forth
on his journey Aarschot complained about Rubens's involvement, which he felt
usurped his authority and challenged his social preeminence. When the duke
arrived in Antwerp, he expected Rubens to present himself along with the papers
that had been entrusted to him by the archduchess, but the painter merely sent
Aarschot a brief note. This snub brought a stinging rebuke from the duke, who
denounced the artist's presumption for addressing him as if he were his equal
("you should learn how your sort should address people of my kind").
The letters soon became public knowledge, after Aarschot sent
copies to the archduchess, the States General, and the marquis
Although a reconciliation
was attempted, Aarschot, it seems, never forgave Rubens, whom
he suspected of conspiring in his downfall in Spain. Given
it is all
the more surprising to learn that the duke had A Wolf and Fox
Hunt sent to him in Madrid to decorate his residence there.
have thought that
his aversion to Rubens would have deterred him from keeping
the picture near him, where it would have been a constant reminder
of the artist's impertinence
and treachery and the duke's former greatness, but evidently
that was not the case. Clearly what the picture signified outweighed
all other considerations.
Reading the "Wolf and Fox Hunt"
In the absence of documentation, we cannot prove beyond a doubt that Rubens
turned to the 1613 hunting legislation for the subject of A Wolf and Fox Hunt,
but since correspondences are so striking between the picture and the placard,
the association seems very likely. In a similar vein, the claim that this subject
had a political aspect must remain speculative, despite the indirect evidence
that can be marshaled in its support.
There is no reason to doubt the report that Rubens initially offered the work
to Archduke Albrecht. This suggests that from the very beginning, when the
project was initiated, Rubens had him in mind as the potential buyer. We may
suppose, therefore, that subject of the picture probably addressed specific
interests of the Albrecht and his consort Isabella.
A primary concern of the archdukes was the restoration of civil order in the
Spanish Netherlands to insure that the peace policy they pursued would bear
economic fruit. The hunting legislation they proposed in 1613, especially the
articles dealing with wolves and foxes, was indicative of this concern. By
seeing to it that these beasts were destroyed, the archdukes made it safe to
farm, to conduct overland trade, and to travel freely. The husbandman no longer
had to stand guard to protect his flock and poultry yard from these destructive
marauders, and the urban dweller gained a new degree of security when venturing
forth beyond his city's walls. Thus, the picture's subject had a topical interest,
reflecting the realities of the moment and the measures undertaken by the archdukes
to ameliorate the circumstances of their subjects' lives.
Additionally, the picture may be viewed from an allegorical perspective, chiefly
as a depiction of the triumph of law and order over the miseries and disorders
following in the wake of war, a subject no less topical, given the recent end
to hostilities in the region. This reading is based primarily on the wolf's
symbolic identity as an attribute or companion to Mars, the god of war and
as a personification of war's great evil, rapine or plunder. According to Ripa,
in the 1603 edition of the Iconologia, the wolf and Rapine share a violent
nature and each seizes its prey or booty unlawfully. Further odious attributes
endemic to war, such as rapaciousness, voraciousness, and injustice, are also
assigned the wolf in the scientific and art-theoretical literature of the time.
While the fox is not included in the emblematics of war, its thieving, malicious
nature, described earlier, makes it a suitable companion to the wolf in this
context. It too is representative of the type of predatory transgressive behavior
associated with war and its aftermath.
In this allegory, the nobles have an important
part to play. Leading the attack on the wolves and foxes, the
costume, and a certain bold fearlessness indicate that
their status is not conferred but inherited. They are members
the old nobility,
that is of the
noblesse de race or noblesse d'épée. Such nobles claimed a pure
lineage, unblemished by ancestors who were mere commoners. They also asserted
that their dignity, authority, and military aptitude derived from blood inherited
from a progenitor, who was a knight. Martial arts were thus pivotal to the
nobleman's identity, whose principal duty was military service to his suzerain
or king. This responsibility was recognized by the military belt or baldric,
which allowed the knight to bear a sword at all times. Another insignia of
knighthood is the golden spur, worn only by a noble whose "dignity ranks
above that of plain gentlemen." Since the nobleman
on the rearing horse has a golden spur, to which Rubens
in various ways, he evidently
belongs to this elite. Presumably his beautiful companion
and the other equestrian hunter are members of the high
nobility as well.
In times of war, the nobility is mobilized
to lead the army and to serve as soldiers, risking "life for the defense of the state," as Charles
Loyseau (1564-1627), the social theorist, explains in Traicté des ordres
et simples dignitez (1610). In another passage, Loyseau writes that hunting "is
rightly reserved to nobles so that in peacetime they may keep up an exercise
similar to war, as hunting is." The observation
was hardly new, for as early as the fourth century B.C.,
Cynegeticus, formerly attributed to Xenophon,
hunting is said to be a peacetime preparation for war.
Yet the fact that hunting is given as one of the defining
of the nobleman's rank only
six years before Rubens painted A Wolf and Fox Hunt is
significant, since it points to the idea's currency in
As for the close association
drawn between hunting and peace at this time, we need
to the frontispiece of Pierre Matthieu's Histoire de
France (1610) for evidence (Fig. 35). Here
hunting and jousting are enjoyed in a land where Maria
de' Medici, the embodiment of peace, reigns supreme.
Since hunting was looked upon as a peacetime exercise for war, practiced by
noblemen to maintain their readiness in event of hostilities, A Wolf and Fox
Hunt reaffirms the justness of the nobility's privileges and the eminence of
their estate. For it is in their hands that the security of the state resides.
The nobility appear as the upholders of law and order, an obligation that they
have fulfilled since ancient times, as the archaizing elements of their costume
indicate, and that they continue to undertake in the present.
All the issues that have been considered--the picture's topicality, its allusions
to the archdukes's hunting edicts and to the restoration of law and order under
their aegis, its emphasis on the prerogatives of the nobility, on their role
in restoring civil order, and on their readiness to defend the state--suggest
that Rubens designed A Wolf and Fox Hunt for the archdukes. The picture could
be said to publicize their political efforts, on the one hand, and, on the
other, to fashion an image of society reflective of their views, according
to which the nobility and not the commoners, as was the case in the Dutch Republic,
dominated social, economic, and political life. This glorification of the old
feudal order held great appeal for the archdukes, since it coincided with their
desire to establish a kingdom in the Spanish Netherlands. As we noted earlier,
the archdukes had supported genealogical research to investigate their Netherlandish
and Burgundian ancestry; the probable purpose of these investigations was to
lend legitimacy to their reign.
Although apparently designed for the archdukes, A Wolf and Fox Hunt became
the property of Philippe-Charles d'Arenberg. D'Arenberg's acquisition of the
painting in February 1617 coincided with two important events in his life.
In the previous year, he had been named duke of Aarschot, and in 1617 he was
made a knight of the Golden Fleece, an order open only to the highest nobles
of the land. Thus, when the duke installed the picture in his residence, these
new honors contextualized its reading. Indeed, in the setting of his palace,
A Wolf and Fox Hunt resonated with the duke's glory, helping to construct both
his public and his private persona. One can well imagine that Aarschot saw
himself in the person of the golden-spurred knight, a handsome figure embodying
the virtues of his privileged class; doubtless his visitors identified him
as well with this knight. Yet, though the A Wolf and Fox Hunt speaks to Aarschot's
particular circumstances, the picture still maintains its association with
the archdukes, not least because of its physical proximity to the court. The
duke's palace faced the courtyard entrance of the archdukes's palace, a unique
location enjoyed by no other noble (Fig. 36). This site conferred great prestige
and honor on Aarschot's residence, making it a satellite of the archdukes'
During the course of the duke's ownership of A Wolf and Fox Hunt the picture
became more pointedly autobiographical as events inflected the reading of the
work. In 1626, for instance, Aarschot was appointed Grand Hunstman of Namur,
while in the following year the dignities of Grand Falconer of the Netherlands
and Grand Huntsman of Flanders were bestowed on him, in essence making him
the premier hunter in the Spanish Netherlands. In addition to adding further
lustre to an already distinguished career, these dignities brought the duke
considerable new authority and financial gain. To a visitor studying A Wolf
and Fox Hunt, the association of the duke's new offices with the figure of
the principal huntsmen must have been inescapable, giving the picture additional
In the 1630s, the Hunt was contextualized by yet another set of circumstances,
Aarschot's arrest for conspiracy in 1633 and his incarceration in Madrid. It
will be recalled that the duke sent for the picture from Brussels. In his new
situation the piece was possibly regarded as a kind of brief, an argument in
the duke's defense, showing the Netherlandish nobility, and by implication
the duke himself, as the upholders of law and order, the king's loyal subjects.
Rather than inciting discord, rebellion, and disorder, these nobles engaged
in a peacetime pastime, a leisure exercise which benefited the realm and supported
So far, A Wolf and Fox Hunt has been read only from the perspective of political
and social circumstances, but these are not exclusive and do not preclude other
accounts. One deserving particular attention, because de Clamorgan touches
upon it in his hunting manual, concerns ethical matters. Throughout his book,
moral issues are alluded to, but it is in chapter 10 where de Clamorgan explains
the mechanics of wolf traps and their installation, that these matters are
addressed most fully. Previously, de Clamorgan had said of the wolf that among
the wild beasts which reside in the forest and are hunted by man it is the
most malicious and causes the greatest harm. Whereas nature created the other
animals of the hunt for nourishment and sport, she behaved like a stepmother
with regard to the wolf, favoring it over other creatures. Multiplying these
beasts everywhere, but especially in desolate places, it was as if she conspired
in secret to ruin all other animals, especially the domesticated ones nurtured
by man for his own needs, so that the wolf might prosper. Thus, when de Clamorgan
addresses ethical issues, the malicious nature of the wolf is already well
known. Yet, de Clamorgan does not blame the animal for the harm that it visits
on man but rather finds man himself responsible for his own plight. He attributes
this circumstance to the Fall, when man wilfully disobeyed God. Having been
entrusted with the awesome charge of naming the animals and receiving dominion
Almighty God took away this authority
as an act of terrible vengeance on account of the sin of
our first father, and to this day beasts are on the look
out to harm, plunder, and even kill man. These circumstances
attest to God's wrath, and to the justness of the punishment
meted out. Man, therefore, should not complain or be surprised
if beasts disobey him, though subject to his rule, since
he disobeyed his creator.
Although punished harshly by God, whom de
Clamorgan qualifies as good ("ce bon Dieu"), leaving
no doubt regarding his justness, God did not forsake man. Fashioned
in his own likeness and endowed with the creator's "instinct," that
is a rational soul, man is able to protect himself from the cruelty
and depredations of "savage, treacherous, evil animals," such
as the wolf, by his godlike nature. In the hunt, intellect gives
him an advantage over his animal enemies, whose weaponry depends
exclusively on brawn and instinct. Though strength is important
for man too, as is endurance, he triumphs over his adversary
with traps and other devices; and his victory is a moral one.
The import of a successful hunt transcends the mere capture and
death of the wild prey; in a sense it is a restoration of the
primitive hierarchy of creation, where man reigned supreme and
animals were naturally subservient to him. Read from this perspective,
A Wolf and Fox Hunt is a representation of the reinstatement
of natural law or, put another way, it shows man making amends
for his initial transgression, his sin against God. Having brought
this great evil upon himself through his rebellion, he now struggles
with the animals that have rebelled against him and by vanguishing
them reestablishes the law and order of creation. Surely the
contemporary audience, when regarding the Hunt, recognized how
intimately this reading was bound to the ones discussed above.
Avowedly nostalgic, the picture glorifies the aristocratic life-style, wherein
the nobleman resides on his extensive properties and follows ancient hunting
customs, aided by his retainers and accompanied by his peers. As a pastime,
he rids the land of malefactors, while maintaining his preparedness to defend
his sovereign. Reflecting the values and ideals of the nobility, A Wolf and
Fox Hunt also shapes the way that this privileged class regards itself. The
ideal noble is represented as a fearless knight, born to lead his forces to
a glorious outcome, to victory. This representation suited the temper of the
moment, when the social advancement of commoners, be they lawyers, financiers,
merchants, or craftsmen, encroached on the authority and prerogatives of the
nobility. Perhaps better than any other subject, the hunt legitimated the noble's
supreme position in society.
1 Peter Paul Rubens, A Wolf and Fox Hunt, ca. 1616. New York, Metropolitan Museum
of Art, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, 1910 (photo:
2 Rubens, Giancarlo Doria, 1606. Florence, Palazzo Vecchio (photo:
3 Rubens, Wolf and Fox Hunt, detail (photo: Bruce Schwarz)
4 Pieter Brueghel the Younger, The Good Shepherd, 1616. Brussels,
Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts (photo: A.C.L)
5 Marten de Vos, Portrait of the Anselme Family, detail, 1577.
Brussels, Musée royaux des Beaux-Arts (photo: A.C.L)
6 Rubens, A Wolf and Fox Hunt, detail (photo: Bruce Schwarz)
7 Paul de Vos, Fox Hunt, 1630s. Antwerp, Banque Paribas de Belgique (photo: Hugo
8 Bedford Master School, Wolf Hunt, ca.1410, from Livre de la Chasse,
MS fr. 616, fol. 96 v. Paris, Bibliothèque
Nationale (photo: Bibl. Nat.)
9 Bedford School, Fox Hunt, ca. 1410, from Livre de la Chasse, MS fr.
616, fol. 99v. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale
(photo: Bibl. Nat.)
10 After Stradanus, Wolf Hunt with Nets, tapestry, 1574. Florence, Uffizi
(photo: Gabinetto Fotografico Soprintendenza
11 After Stradanus, Wolf Hunts with Toils, tapestry, 1574. Florence, Uffizi
(photo: Gabinetto Fotografico Soprintendenza
12 After Stradanus, Wolf Hunt with Traps, tapestry,1574. Florence, Uffizi
(photo: Gabinetto Fotografico Soprintendenza
13 Stradanus, Fox and Hare Hunt, drawing, 1567. Florence, Gabinetto Disegni
e Stampe Uffizi (photo: Gabinetto Fotografico
14 Philip Galle, after Stradanus, Wolf Hunt with Toils, engraving, 1602
(photo: New York Public Library)
15 Galle, after Stradanus, Wolf Hunt with Traps and Shotgun, engraving,
1602 (photo: New York Public Library)
16 Jost Amman, Wolf Hunt, woodcut, from Neuw Jagd und Weydwerck, 1582
(photo: The Illustrated Bartsch 20, pt. 2, p. 712)
17 Workshop of Rubens, The Riding School, ca. 1612. Formerly Berlin, Kaiser-Friedrich
Museum (photo: Jörg P. Anders, courtesy
W. A. Liedtke)
18 Tempesta, Bear Hunt, etching, 1595. Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina
19 Tempesta, Wolf Hunt, etching, 1590 (photo: Amsterdam,
20 Tempesta, Wolf Hunt, etching, 1621 (photo: author)
21 Stradanus, Wolf Hunt with Toils, drawing, 1567. Paris,
Musée du Louvre, Cabinet des Dessins (photo: R.M.N.)
22 Crispijn de Passe the Younger, The "Passage," from Antoine
de Pluvinel, L'Instruction du Roy en l'exercise de
monter à cheval, Paris, 1625, engraving (photo: courtesy
W. A. Liedtke)
23 After Bernard van Orley, The Hunts of Maximilian: November, detail,
tapestry, ca. 1531-33. Paris, Musée du Louvre (photo:
24 Follower of Van Orley, The Nobleman Discovers the Lovers, drawing,
ca. 1530s. Paris, Musées du Louvre, Cabinet des
Dessins (photo: R.M.N.)
25 Lucas van Leyden, Young Man with a Skull, engraving, 1519, (photo:
26 Rubens, A Wolf and Fox Hunt, detail (photo: Bruce Schwarz)
27 Hans Weiditz, Of Dress and Finery of the Body (Petrarch, Von der Artzney
bayder Glück, p. XXIII). London, British
Museum (photo: British Museum)
28 Rubens, Copy after Hans Weiditz, detail, drawing, ca. 1598-1600. London,
British Museum (photo: British Museum)
29 Rubens, A Sibyl, detail, drawing, ca. 1608-12. London, British Museum
(photo: British Museum)
30 Rubens, Conversion of Saint Bavo, detail, 1611-12. London, National
Gallery (photo: National Gallery)
31 Rubens, Four Women, detail, drawing, ca. 1608-12. London, British Museum
(photo: British Museum)
32 L. Beck, Scene from Theuerdank, woodcut, Nuremberg, 1517. London, British
Museum (photo: British Museum)
33 Seals of Jeanne of Constantinople, countess of Flanders and Hainaut,
1223; Jean the Blind, count of Luxembourg, 1310; Marie of Burgundy, duchess of
Burgundy, 1477 (photo: author)
34 Crispijn van de Passe, Philippe-Charles d'Arenberg, Duke of Aarschot,
engraving. Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale
Albert Ier (photo: Bibl. Roy.)
35 Jacques de Fornazeris, Maria de' Medici as an Allegory of Peace, from
Pierre Matthieu, Histoire de France, 1610, engraving.
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale (photo: Bibl. Nat.)
36 Martin de Tailly, Map of Brussels. Detail showing the Palace of the
Archdukes and the Palace of the Duke of Aarschot,
1640. Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier (photo:
Frequently Cited Sources
Balis, A., Rubens Hunting Scenes, trans. P. S. Falla, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig
Burchard, pt. 18, II, London/New York, 1986.
Belkin, K. L., The Costume Book, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, pt. XXIV,
Cummins, J., The Hound and the Hawk, New York, 1988.
Clamorgan, J. de, La Chasse du Loup (1566), in La Vénerie de Jacques du
Fouilloux, Paris, 1606, fols.109v-126.
Liedtke, W. A., Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2 vols.,
New York, 1984.
Phoebus, G., Livre de Chasse, ed. G. Tilander, Karlshamn, 1971.
An earlier version of this study was presented
in 1993 at the annual conference of the College Art Association,
held in Seattle, Washington, at the session "Facing the Beast,
1500-1900." I am deeply grateful to Julius Held and Walter
Liedtke for their critical comments on that text, which led me
to reexamine and revise certain arguments regarding the political
reading of the picture. I also wish to thank Maryan Ainsworth,
Arnout Balis, Bryn Mader, Edward Morman, and Mary Crawford Volk
for their assistance. Translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.
1. On the painting, see Balis, 20-25, 95-104; Liedtke, I, 198-209; and idem,
in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish
Paintings in the Public Collections of North America, selected by G. C. Bauman
and W. A. Liedtke, Antwerp, 1992, 193-96.
2. See Balis, 98-100. The picture is first mentioned by Carleton's agents in
the Southern Netherlands, Toby Matthew and George Gage, as a "hunting
peece," without indicating its subject. Only in 1618, when Carleton subsequently
tried to sell a smaller version to the king of Denmark, was it specified as
a wolf and fox hunt. For the Carleton correspondence, see W. N. Sainsbury,
Original Unpublished Papers Illustrative of the Life of Sir Peter Paul Rubens,
London, 1859, 14-19; Correspondance de Rubens et documents épistolaires
concernant sa vie et ses oeuvres, ed. M. Rooses and C. Ruelens, Antwerp, II,
1898, 85-87, 90, 93-94, 96-98, 107-8, 119-21. A Wolf and Fox Hunt remained
in Aarschot's collection until his death in 1640, when it was purchased by
the marquis of Leganés, Diego Messía Felípez de Guzmán.
It appears as no. 1126 in a 1642 inventory drawn up during Leganés's
lifetime, and as no. 1125 in a posthumous inventory of 1655; In both documents,
a note indicates that the picture came from Aarschot's residence. That the
New York Hunt is indeed this picture is confirmed by the number 1125 painted
on its lower left; see Balis, 100. Yet, despite the certainty of the picture's
provenance, a vexing issue still exists that turns on its dimensions. Its size
is considerably smaller than "the hunting peece" referred to in the
Carleton correspondence. According to Matthew's letter of Dec. 30, 1616, the
picture measured between 11-12 ft. x 18 ft. (in Antwerp feet; an Antwerp foot
is 11.14 in./28.3 cm) or 311.3-339.3 x 509.4 cm. The dimensions of the New
York Hunt are 13.28 x 8.62 Antwerp ft. (245.4 x 376.2 cm). To account for the
discrepancy Balis, 100, offered three hypotheses--that the very large Aarschot
picture is lost; the "hunting peece" was cut down by Rubens in his
workshop to make it more salable; Matthew was mistaken about the measurements.
While Liedtke, 1992 (as in n. 1), 195, concurs with Balis, 100, in accepting
the second suggestion as preferable, the results of a technical examination
(Liedtke I, 202, n. 1), which Maryan Ainsworth, (Metropolitan Museum of Art),
kindly reviewed with me, do not support this view. It is likely, therefore,
that Matthew, who was relying on second-hand information (he was then living
in Louvain and it was Gage who negotiated with Rubens in Antwerp) was misinformed
by Gage or erred himself when reporting the numbers to Carleton. For a detailed
discussion of other versions of the Wolf and Fox Hunt, including copies, none
of which could be the 18-foot-long canvas, see Balis, 96-97, 105-7.
3. Balis, 102.
4. M. Rooses, L'Oeuvre de P. P. Rubens: Histoire et description de ses tableaux
et dessins, Antwerp, 1890, IV, 341.
5. Cummins, chap. 9, esp. 136-37, 141.
6. In certain hunting manuals, prey is divided into two groups, according to
various criteria. The most important text in this regard is King Method and
Queen Reason (Les Livres du Roy Modus et de la Royne Ratio, ed. G. Tilander,
Paris, 1932, 140, 273), where five animals are classified as sweet (douce)
and four as stinking (puant). The sweet ones--the stag, the hind, the fallow
and roe deers, and the hare--do not have a foul odor, their pelts have a pleasing
(amiable) color, either blond or tawny, and they do not bite. The four stinking
animals, which include the boar, the wolf, the fox, and the otter, bite. In
another system, the so-called sweet animals are referred to as red beasts and
the stinking ones as black beasts. Yet another scheme recognizes the first
group as edible and the second as inedible, except for the boar.
7. My thanks to Bryn Mader, Registrar of Collections, Department of Mammalogy,
American Museum of Natural History, New York, for explaining the anatomical
relationship between the wolf and the dog.
8. Rubens purchased the texts from the Antwerp publisher Balthasar Moretus
between 1613 and 1617. See M. Rooses, "P. P. Rubens en Baltasar Moretus,
IV," Rubens-Bulletijn, II, 1883, 187-91.
9. Rubens's interest in natural history has been commented on by various authors:
e.g., H. F. Evers, Peter Paul Rubens, Munich, 1942,
106-7, called attention to Rubens's acquisition of Aldrovandi's Ornitholigiae
in 1613, and suggested that his conception of the eagle in the Ganymede (Vienna,
Prince Schwarzenberg Collection) may have have been informed by that text;
J. R. Martin and C. L. Bruno refer to the same volume in connection with Cupid
Supplicating Jupiter (Princeton, N. J., The Art Museum, Forbes Collection)
in "Rubens's "Cupid Supplicating Jupiter," Rubens Before 1620,
ed. J. R. Martin, Princeton, 1972, 13. For Rubens's interest in natural history
and his application of scientific knowledge in various pictures, see Balis,
70-76. A. Balis, "Hippopotamus Rubenii: Een Hoofdstukje uit de Geschiedenis
van de Zoölogie," in Feestbundel Kolveniershof en Rubenianum, Antwerp,
1981, 127-42; and idem, "Facetten van de Vlaamse dierenschilderkunst van
de 15de tot de 17de eeuw," in Het Aards Paradijs: Dierenvoorstellingen
in de nederlanden van de 16de en 17de eeuw, Antwerp, 1982, 37-55. For The Head
of Medusa, see Susan Koslow, "How looked the Gorgon then . . .":
The Science and Poetics of the Head of Medusa by Rubens and Snyders," in
Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive, Cambridge, Mass., 1995, 147-49.
10. Liedtke, I, 200.
11. Aelian, 10.26; Aelian, On the Characteristics of Animals, trans. A. F.
Scholfield, Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass.,/London, 1971.
12. The Bestiary: A Book of Beasts, trans. T. H. White, New York, 1960, 57.
13. E. Topsell, The History of Four-Footed Beasts and Serpents and Insects
(London, 1658), repr., New York, 1967, I, 571; and C. Gesner, Historia
Animalium: I, De Quadrupedibus Viviparis, Zurich, 1551, 719.
14. Jean de Clamorgan, seigneur of Saane, Normandy, dedicated the text to Charles
IX. Often published with Charles Estienne's Agriculture et maison rustique
or Jacques du Fouilloux's La Vénerie, it was translated into German
and Italian. The edition used here is La Vénerie de Jacques du Fouilloux,
15. De Clamorgan, fol. 110v.
16. The picture is signed and dated lower left: P. BREUGHEL 1616. See Schenking
Doktor en Mevrouw Frans Heulens-van Meiren, Koninklijk Musea voor Schoone Kunsten
van België, Departement Oude Kunst, Brussels, 1988, 32. The date is of
particular interest, since it coincides with the presumed date of the Wolf
and Fox Hunt. Two other versions of the picture are known, but neither is signed
17. Oppian, Cynegetica, 3.315-24; Oppian, Colluthus, Tryphiodorus, trans. A.
W. Mair, Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass.,/London, 1963.
18. Topsell (as in n. 13), 570. Rubens may also have been aware of the hunting
practice recommended by de Clamorgan, fol. 122v, who urges "the hunter
to lodge a sword or a large stick in the wolf's mouth and push it deep into
the [wolf's] throat to prevent the beast from wounding the greyhounds on their
muzzles and legs."
19. See Aristotle, Historia Animalium, 501a14, where saw-toothed animals are
identified as those "whose sharp-pointed teeth interlock"; Aristotle,
Historia Animalium, trans. A. L. Peck, Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass./London,
1965; see, too, Aristotle, Parts of Animals, 3.631b17-27, trans. A. L. Peck,
Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass./London, 1968; Pliny, Natural History,
2.61.160-62, trans. H. Rackham, Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass./London,
20. Oppian (as in n. 17), 3.261.
21. Aelian (as in n. 11), I.31.
22. Ibid., II.37 .
23. Oppian (as in n. 17), I.261-70.
24. Plutarch, The Eating of Flesh, bk. I, 994-95; Plutarch's Moralia, XII,
trans. H. Cherniss and W. C. Helmbold, Loeb Library Edition, Cambridge, Mass./London,
25. M. J. S. Rudwick, The Meaning of Fossils: Episodes in the History of Palaeontology,
Chicago/London, 1976, 63.
26. J. Ray, Historia Plantarum Species Hanctenus Editas Aliasquae, London,
1686-1704, bk. 3, chap. 24.
27. I have used J. Evelyn, Kalendrium hortense; or the gard'ner's almanac,
10th ed., London, 1706, 172, which includes the 2d ed. of the Acetaria.
28. The topos of tooth and claw took on heightened meaning in the 19th century
in the context of new advances in the biological sciences. Although Georges
Cuvier, the great comparative anatomist and founder of vertebrate paleontology,
did not attach moral significance to the body's organs and their functions,
it is of interest, nevertheless, that tooth and claw is one exemplar used to
explain his procedure for reconstructing the structure of an animal. [For Cuvier,
see W. Coleman, Georges Cuvier Zoologist. A Study in the History of Evolution
Theory, Cambridge, Mass., 1964. According to Coleman (4, passim), though Cuvier
was a devout Christian, his religious convictions affected his scientific work
only insofar as he tried to show that there was no contradiction between religious
truths and scientific beliefs.] He reasoned that if an animal has sharp claws
it is a carnivore and, by the principle of correlation of parts, a law which
he formulated, it could be expected to have teeth suited to seizing and rending
its prey. [See, for instance, Coleman, 120, where the author quotes a passage
from the third edition of Cuvier's Discours sur les révolutions de la
surface du globe et sur les changemens qu'elles ont produits dans la règne
animal (Paris, 1830), which elucidates this association: "the form of
the tooth leads to the form of the condyle, that of the scapula to that of
the nails . . . similarly the nails, the scapula, the condyle, the femur, each
separately reveal the tooth or each other." Cuvier also indicated the
connection or correlation of parts between nails and teeth in his classification
of mammals with nails, Coleman, 84. The principles, "correlation of parts," and "subordination
of characters," are considered by Rudwick, 104.]
Some decades later, in 1850, the topos appears in Alfred Lord Tennyson's epic
poem, In Memoriam, written to commemorate the death of a beloved friend. [See
S. J. Gould, "Red in Tooth and Claw," Natural History, 101, no. 11,
1992, 14-23.] Tennyson invokes both nature and natural science to console himself
for his loss. It is in this context that the famous line cited above occurs: "Nature,
red in tooth and claw." [The stanza in full reads: "Who trusted God
was love indeed
And love Creation's final law--Though Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shrieked against his creed."] Although it came to be associated
with the mechanism Charles Darwin posited to explain evolution, the theory
of natural selection, known popularly as survival of the fittest, Tennyson
did not intend it this way. He published In Memoriam nine years before The
Origin of Species (1859) and was ignorant of the book's revolutionary ideas.
In fact, "Nature, red in tooth and claw" still resonates with the
voice of the ancients and their early modern followers.
29. Gesner (as in n. 13), 723; Topsell (as in n. 13), 178, 572. See below for
enmity between wolves and foxes as embodied in the Roman de Renard.
30. Desiderius Erasmus, The Colloquies of Erasmus, trans. C. R. Thompson, Chicago/London,
1965, 516-27; K. Thomas, Man and the Natural World, New York, 1983, chap. 4:
and passim. See, too, S. Koslow, Frans Snyders: The Noble Estate. Seventeenth-Century
Still-Life and Animal Painting in the Southern Netherlands, Antwerp, 1995,
31. Cited in M. M. Reese, The Royal Office Master of the Horse, London, 1976,
32. De Clamorgan, fol. 110v; du Fouilloux (as in n.14), fol. 101v.
33. See A. Zweite, Marten de Vos als Maler, Berlin, 1980, 322-24, for the Anselme
portrait. De Clamorgan, fol. 113v, writes: "A baby in swaddling clothes
teethes more quickly and painlessly when it has wolves' teeth. For this reason
Parisian mothers give their newborn infants a silver rattle with a large wolf's
tooth set at its tip, which the babies play with, suck on, and rub on their
gums. This helps them to teethe with little discomfort." For wolves' teeth
in 17th-century inventories, see E. Duverger, Antwerpse Kunstinventarissen
uit de Zeventiende Eeuw, I. 1600-1617, Fontes Historiae Artis Neerlandicae,
Bronnen voor de Kunstgeschiedenis van de Nederlanden, Brussels, 1984, 339,
Sept. 7, 1615 ("Een wolffstant met silver beslaegen), 463 (an example
in the inventory of the surgeon Jan van Loobosch, who died May 7, 1615): and
ibid., III. 1627-1635, Brussels, 1987, 74, a small box with wolves' teeth,
owned by Hendrik Smits, the Antwerp silversmith, who died Oct. 25, 1627. M.
D. K. Bremmer, The Story of Dentistry, 3rd rev. ed., Brooklyn/London, 1954,
31, notes that wolf-tooth amulets were placed in cradles and hung around babies'
necks. Although widespread, this usage did have its critics in the 17th century,
as V. Guerini, A History of Dentistry from the Most Ancient Times until the
End of the Eighteenth Century, New York, 1969, observes. For instance, in 1630,
Johann Stephan Strolberger, in his treatise on teeth and gout, called the remedy
vain and fantastical. Examples of such amulets survive in museums of science
and natural history, medicine, and anthropology, e.g., in the Schweizerisches
Pharmazie-Historisches Museum, Basel, and in the Pitt Rivers Museum, School
of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Oxford, Inv. no. 1949.3.13. I am indebted
to Ed Morman of The Johns Hopkins University, Institute of the History of Medicine,
for information regarding amulets in these collections.
34. De Clamorgan, fol. 119. He also remarks (fol. 115v) that in the more than
fifty years he has "waged war" on wolves not one of his dogs was
killed, whereas his neighbors suffered losses in this regard; therefore, he
advises "princes et grands seigneurs" to hunt only with dogs belonging
to a "race" that loves to chase the wolf. To insure that they are "large,
strong, and bold" he recommends feeding them plentiful food at the same
time. Race in this context does not have the present-day meaning of pedigree,
but refers, rather, to a family line possessing certain faculties.
35. Phoebus, 236-37, where the lévrier and the limier are indicated;
De Clamorgan, fol. 115, for the chien courant. See Cummins, 12-31, for a comprehensive
account of hunting dogs in medieval cynegetic literature; for the dog packs
maintained by the archdukes and governors of the Spanish Netherlands, see A.
Galesloot, La Maison de Chasse des ducs de Brabant et de l'ancienne cour de
Bruxelles précédées d'un aperçu sur l'ancient droit
de chasse, Brussels, 1854, 151-52, and 137, where the greyhound is mentioned
for hunting the wolf (as well as the boar and the stag).
36. Phoebus, 241; "Aussi y doit encharner ses levriers plus que nulle
autre beste, quar communement levriers prendront toute autre beste plus voulentiers
que ne feront un lou." Excerpts from Phoebus's text are given in the 1606
edition of du Fouilloux (as in n. 14), fol. 105v, including the passage cited
here, where the meaning is inverted. Whether by inadvertetence or intentionally,
a phrase was left out, so that now the sentence suggests that the greyhound
actually prefers to hunt the wolf ("Aussi y doit encharner ses levriers
plus que nulle autre beste plus volontiers que ne feront un loup").
37. De Clamorgan, fol. 122v.
38. Phoebus, 106-12, "Where we talk about the manner and condition of
dogs," exclusively concerns the greyhound, indicating its preeminence
among dogs. The image of a greyhound reclining at the feet of a nobleman's
effigy is a well-known feature of Gothic tomb monuments. A fine late example
is the tomb of Margaret of Austria, governess of the Netherlands, begun in
1526 by Conrad Meit; see E. Panofsky, Tomb Sculpture, New York, n.d., 78-79,
39. Aelian (as in n. 11), 6.24, 64.
40. Oppian (as in n. 17), 3.449-60.
41. Phoebus, 100.
42. Topsell (as in n. 13), I, 176; Gesner (as in n. 13), 1086.
43. For the Ghent Fox Hunt, see P. Sutton, Northern European Paintings in the
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1990, 347-49, Fig. 128-2. For the
Kassel Fox Hunt, see K. J. Müllenmeister, Meer und Land im Licht des 17.
Jahrhunderts, Bremen, 1981, III, 92. A note in a sketchbook of de Vos (1595-1678)
in the Prentenkabinet of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, documents the artist's
collaboration with Rubens:"Ick Pauwels de Vos hebbe voor peter rubbens
ghewrocht 6 daaghen" (fol. 1r); see Koslow (as in n. 29), 322, n. 28.
44. For fable literature and representation, see Koslow (as in n. 29), chap.
45. See J. S. Salisbury, The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages, New
York/London, p. 122; and Renard the Fox, trans. P. Terry, Berkeley-Los Angeles/Oxford,
46. Reynard the Fox and Other Mediaeval Netherlands Secular Literature, ed.
E. Colledge, trans. A. J. Barnouw and E. Colledge, London/New York, 160.
47. V. A. de la Montagne, "Schoolboeken te Antwerpen in de 17e Eeuw," Tijdschrift
voor boek-en bibliotheken, V, 1907, 28.
48. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. G. Bull, Harmondsworth/New
York, 1987, 99-100.
49. Gian Paolo Lomazzo, Trattato dell'arte della pittura, scoltura et architettura,
bk. 6, chap. 58, in idem Scritti sulle arti, ed. R. P. Ciardi, Florence, 1974,
50. Karel van Mander, Wtbeeldinge der Figueren (Alkmaar, 1604), repr., Utrecht,
1969, fol. 130.
51. Roy Modus (as in n. 6), 87-89.
52. Phoebus, 236-42.
53. Cummins, 137.
54. Phoebus, 242-45. See also Jacques du Fouilloux, La Vénerie et L'adolescence,
ed. G. Tilander, Cynegetica XIV, Stockholm, 1967, 140-47.
55. William Twiti, The Art of Hunting: 1527, ed. B. Danielsson, Stockholm Studies
in English, XXXVII, Cynegetica Anglica, I, Stockholm, 1977, 55.
56. Phoebus, passim. For color reproductions, see Illuminated Manuscripts:
Medieval Hunting Hunting Scenes (" The Hunting Book" by Gaston Phoebus),
text by G. Bise, trans. J. P. Tallon, Fribourg/Geneva, 1978, 79, 80.
57. See D. Heikamp, "Die Arazzeria Medicea im 16. Jahrhundert: Neue Studien," Münchener
Jahrbuch der Bildenden Kunst, XX, 1969, 48-57; and Welmoet Bok-Van Kammen, "Stradanus
and the Hunt," Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, 1977, 9-31. The
chambre does not exist in its entirety: only Wolf Hunt with Nets, Wolf Hunt
with Toils, and Wolf Hunt with Traps survive; missing are Wolf Hunt with a
Shotgun and Fox and Hare Hunt.
58. Bok-Van Kammen (as in n. 57), 32-36.
59. Ibid., 71-84.
60. In addition to a par force wolf hunt with nets, Jost Amman depicts Wolves
feeding on a Carcass, Catching a Wolf with a Duck Decoy, and Peasants Chasing
Wolves with Flails. See The Illustrated Bartsch 20 (Part 2): German Masters
of the Sixteenth Century. Jost Amman: Woodcuts, continued, ed. J. S. Peters,
New York, 1985, 703, 715, 718, figs. 9.2 (371), 9.25 (371), 9.32 (371). These
illustrations are reproduced from Künstliche Wolgerissene New Figuren
von allerlei Jagt und Weidwerch, Frankfurt am Main, 1592.
61. For van Orley, September (Stag Hunt), see S. Schneebalg-Perelman, Les Chasses
de Maximilien, Brussels, 1992, 74-75, fig. 47; for Stradanus, Hare Hunt, see
Heikamp (as in n. 57), 58, fig. 38; for Tempesta, Ostrich Hunt, The Illustrated
Bartsch 37: Antonio Tempesta. Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century. ed.
Sebastian Buffa. New York, 1984, 11, no. 1108 (166).
62. Examples are van Orley, December (Boar Hunt), Schneebalg-Perelman (as in
n. 61), 98-99, fig. 61; Stradanus, Ostrich Hunt, Heikamp (as in n. 57), 58,
fig. 40; Tempesta, Leopard Hunt (1598), The Illustrated Bartsch 37 (as in n.
61), 11, no. 1107 (166).
63. Liedtke, 228.
64. W. A. Liedtke, The Royal Horse and Rider: Painting, Sculpture and Horsemanship,
1500-1800, New York, 1989, 232-33. The Riding School, formerly in Berlin, was
destroyed in World War II. Though admittedly a workshop piece, the central
rider appears less dynamic than the one in the Wolf and Fox Hunt, indicating
that it may have been painted later. In any case, Balis, 103, n. 24, points
out that the motif is not Rubens's invention, but Italian in origin; he cites
a soldier in Raphael's 1513-14 fresco The Expulsion of Attila as an early example.
Stradanus's representations of the Roman emperor Otho, engraved in 1590 by
Crispijn de Passe (?) and Adriaen Collaert, may also be mentioned as possible
models; see Liedtke (as above), 177, 219.
65. See W. A. Baillie-Grohman, Sport in Art, New York, 1969, figs. 61, 73,
for examples in Stradanus's prints; for Tempesta, see The Illustated Bartsch
36: Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century, ed. S. Buffa, New York, 1983,
65, 66, figs. 1167 (170), 1168 (170). In addition to prints, Rubens probably
looked at paintings, such as Saint George on the exterior of the Oude Voetboeg
triptych by Marten de Vos, formerly in Antwerp Cathedral (see Zweite [as in
n. 33], 297-99, fig. 95); for the men on foot see, e.g., The Illustrated Bartsch
37 (as in n. 60), 267, fig. 1023 (164).
66. For Tempesta's prints, see The Illustrated Bartsch 37 (as in n. 61), 49,
fig. 1150 (167), 68, fig. 1170 (170). For the participation of women in hunts,
see Cummins, 7. Famous 15th-century examples are August with Falconers by the
Limbourg brothers in the Très Riches Heures, ca. 1416, (The "Très
Riches Heures" of Jean, Duke of Berry, Musée Condé, Chantilly,
ed. J. Longnon et al., New York, 1969, fig. 9); and the Devonshire Hunting
Tapestries, ca. 1430s-40s, (G. W. Digby and W. Hefford, The Devonshire Hunting
Tapestries, London, 1971, figs. 22-27. The tradition continues in the 16th
century in the Hunts of Maximilian tapestries after Bernard van Orley (Schneebalg-Perelman
[as in n. 61], passim) and Lucas Cranach's The Deer Hunt of Charles V and the
Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony (Balis, fig.11).
67. Heikamp, (as in n. 57), 50; Collections de Louis XIV, dessins, albums,
manuscrits, exh. cat., Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, 1977, 131-32.
68. Rooses-Ruelens (as in n. 2), II, 99-100. Although the phrase "escape
or resistance" is Matthew's, it surely reflects a comment by Rubens.
69. Quoted from the 1598 English translation, A Tracte Containing the Artes
of Curious Paintinge. repr. Amsterdam/New York, 1969, 83; Lomazzo (as in n.
49), II, 156.
70. Rubens appears to be the first artist to paint foam on the lips of horses
in modern times. For the stories about Protogenes and Nealkes, see The Elder
Pliny's Chapters on the History of Art, trans. K. Jex-Blake, commentaries by
E. Sellers and R. V. Schoder, S.J., Chicago, 1976, 139 (Natural History., bk.
71. See J. Rowlands, Rubens Drawings and Sketches, London, 1977, 56.
72. See Belkin, 101-3, 126-28; figs. 68, 115.
73. Louis XIII is identified as "Le Roy" in the engravings. See Liedtke
(as in n. 64), figs. 107B, 108.
74. See Schneebalg-Perelman (as in n. 61), 31, 56, for hats, and 52, for drawing
said to be by van Orley; this drawing is convincingly attributed by Balis to
a follower of van Orley. See A. Balis et al., Les Chasses de Maximilien, exh.cat.,
Réunion des Musée Nationaux, Paris, 1993, 74-78, fig. 74; see
Belkin, fig. 20, for a similar bonnet. Rubens's drawing depicts the 15th-century
noble Josse de Lalaing in 16th-century fashion, according to Belkin.
75. J. Lavalleye, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Lucas van Leyden: The Complete
Engravings, Etchings, and Woodcuts, New York, n.d., fig. 119 (Bartsch 174).
For the iconography of the feather as a hair-and-hat ornament, see E. de Jongh,
Tot Lering en Vermaak, Amsterdam, 1976, 59, and E. Buijsen et al., Music and
Painting in the Golden Age, exh.cat., The Hague, 1994, 152.
76. Belkin, 130-34, figs. 128, 134.
77. Ibid., 44, 131, suggests that this sheet may have been added to the Costume
Book by Pierre Crozat.
78. Ibid.,139-42, figs. 77, 151, 232. In the somewhat earlier Conversion of
Saint Bavo (Fig. 32), ca. 1611-12, Rubens dresses the 7th-century saint's female
relatives, Gertrude and Bega, in attire closely resembling the noblewoman's
in A Wolf and Fox Hunt; they also wear off-the-shoulder garments and have braids.
79. E.g.,, Belkin, figs. 54, 77, 142, 177. For contemporary riding costume,
see Baillie-Grohman (as in n. 65), fig. 109, The Elector and Electress of Bavaria
Hunting (July) (ca. 1603-9), tapestry designed by Pieter de Witte, known as
Candito; and fig. 93, David Vinckboons, Hawking (1612).
80. Liedtke, 206, n. 29, reports that Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann and Martha
Wolff remarked on the anachronistic costumes of the riders and related them
to van Orley's hunting tapestries. See also Balis, 54-55.
81. A. M. Bonenfant-Feytmans, "Antoine de Succa et l'historigraphie de
son temps," in Les Mémoriaux d'Antoine de Succa, catalogue by M.
Comblen-Sonkes et C. Van den Bergen-Patens, Les Primitifs Flamands, III: Contributions à l'étude
des Primitifs flamands, Brussels, 1977, 16-20; M. Soenen, "Inventaire
analytique des documents relatifs à l'impression et au commerce des
livres (1546-1702) contenus dans les cartons 1276-1280 du conseil privé espagnol," Archives
Génèral du Royaume, Brussels, 1983, 48, docs. 343 (Jan. 24, 1600)
and 347 bis (Mar. 7, 1612). Soenen summarizes the "lettres circulaires," where
Jean-Baptiste Grammaye is identified as "historiographe" and "historiographe
des Archiducs" respectively. On June 19, 1615, the bishop of Ghent charged
Jacques Cornille de Lummen, called de la Marca, to write "l'histoire belgique
de nostre temps"; Soenen, 49.
82. Soenen (as in n. 81), 48. Summary of doc. 346: "Acte [July 8, 1609]
adressé aux gens de la Chambre des Comptes à Dôle, aux
trésoriers et gardes des chartes, à tous abbayes, prieurs, recteurs,
prévots, doyens et gardiens des abbayes, prieurés, collèges,
chapitres, monastères, hôpitaux . . . situés dans le comté de
Bourgogne afin qu'ils donnent libre accès à toutes leurs archives à messire
Antoine d'Orival, chanoine de Besançon et à Jean-Baptiste Chassignet,
avocat fiscal au siège de Gray, qui ont entrepris l'historie des Comtes
de Bourgogne depuis que la province aurait été erigée
en comté, généaolgie, suite et succession d'iceux jusques
a LL. AA., fondation des abbayes, prieurés, collèges de chanoines,
couvents et aultres maison pieuses."
83. Bonenfant-Feytmans (as in n. 81), 22-39.
84. G. Parker, The Dutch Revolt (1977) rev. ed., London, 1988, 254. Considerable
new information regarding the hunting of wolves in the southern Netherlands
in the 16th and 17th centuries is to be found in Bart de Groof, "De wolf
(Canis lupus). Angst en vervolging in de Nederlanden," De Brabantse folklore
en geschiedenis, no. 282, June 1994, 125-46. This excellent study, which was
brought to my attention by Arnout Balis after my essay had been completed,
also discusses at length the hunting legislation of the archdukes in connection
with the regional proliferation of wolves brought about by war and rural depopulation.
And it, too, associates the hunting legislation with A Wolf and Fox Hunt, using
this as illustration. De Groof, however, discounts the foxes in Rubens's picture
and does not associate their presence with the 1613 hunting law, as I do below.
De Groof's study should also be consulted for its very informative account
of popular and folk attitudes regarding wolves in the Netherlands, a subject
that I do not treat in this essay.
85. V. Brants, Recueil des ordonnances des Pays-Bas: Règne d'Albert
et Isabelle, 1597-1621, Brussels, 1912, II, 124-25.
86. Ibid., 186-96.
87. For earlier hunting legislation in the Spanish Netherlands, and in Brabant
specifically, see Placcaerten ende ordonnantien vande Hertoghen van Brabandt
Princen van dese Nederlanden, Brussels, 1664, III, 508 ff.; A. Galesloot, La
Maison de chasse des ducs de Brabant et de l'ancienne cour de Bruxelles précédées
d'un aperçu sur l'ancienne droit de chasse, Brussels,1854, passim; and
A. Faider, Histoire du droit de chasse et de la législation sur la chasse
en Belgique, en France, en Angleterre, en Allemagne, en Italie et en Hollande,
Académie royale des sciences des lettres et des beaux-arts de Belgique,
Mémoires couronnés XXVII, Brussels, 1876, 46-122, 155-65.
88. Faider (as in n. 87), 87, 93.
89. Brants (as in n. 85), 191. The other two articles, 59 and 60, read: "59.
Mais que si quelqu'un fût trouvé seul dedans nos franches forests,
bois et garennes, ou leur lisieres hors des chemins ordinaires et usitez, avec
harquebuse, ou semblables instruments, sous pretexte de poursuivre renards
ou loups, il ne sera excusé des amendes cy-dessus statuées. 60.
Item, comme nous entendons, qu'aucuns s'advancent de faire au bois et campaignes
grands puits, fossez et louveriers, qu'ils scavent dextrement couvrir de feuillages,
ou autrement, sous pretexte de s'en servir à prendre loups, esquelles
toutesfois pourroient aussi tomber les sauvagines, voires les veneurs, et autres
passans, nous avons expressement défendu, et défendons, par cesdites
presentes, à qui que ce soit, de faire tels puits ou fossez, à peine
de fourfaire soixante royaux d'amende."
90. Brants (as in n. 85), 191: "58. Quant à la chasse du renard
et du loup, comme icelle a de tout temps êté permise, nous la
permettons aussi par cesdites presentes, tant en hyver sur la neige, qu'en
autre saison, moyennant qu'elle soit dressée en presence, ou par consentement
de nos commis, ayans de ce la charge ordinaire, ou par ceux de nos vassaux,
qui ont privilege et pouvoir de chasser avec meute et chiens, trompe, et bonne
troupe de gens, pour faire la huée, et auront les veneurs de chacun
renard ou loup ainsi pris, la salaire de tous temps à ce statué, à laquelle
fin les commis, ou ayans de ce charge, feront annuellement le tour du loup,
chacun a sa province, et seront tenues les communautez et villages leur fournir
les dépens de bouche, et non plus."
91. Cynegetic manuals cite the following seasons for the wolf and the fox:
William Twiti (1327), the fox, Sept. 25-Mar. 25; Roy Modus et Royne Racio (1354-79),
the wolf, Jan.; Phoebus (1387-91), the wolf, Sept. 25-Mar. 25; The Book of
St. Albans alone places the seasons for the wolf and the fox concurrently,
that is, Sept. 8-Mar. 25; du Fouilloux (1561) recommends Jan.-Mar. for fox
hunting, because "le bois est plus clair: car la fueille en est cheue." See
Cummins, 135, for further discussion regarding hunting seasons.
92. Brants (as in n. 85), 189: "29. Et comme la chasse qui est permise à nos
vassaux leur doit seulement servir de passetemps, sans en abuser, notre intention
est qu'ils n'en usent, sinon en saison et hors des lieux défendus, et
avec levriers, chiens courans et la grande trompe, et que ce soit au surplus
de poil avec poil et de plume avec plume, qu'en aucuns lieux on appelle chasse
noble, si ce n'est qu'ils ayent privilege plus ample et expresse au contraire."
93. Seals, used to authenticate documents and to indicate authority, included
the owner's name, title, and possessions. For the seals illustrated in Fig.
33, see R. Laurent, Sigillographie, Archives Générales du Royaume
et Archives de l'Etat dans les Provinces, Centre d'Etudes Pratiques pour les
Sciences Auxiliaires de l'Histoire, Brussels, 1985, 87, 97, 104. For the social
contextualization of seals, see B. Bedos Rezak, "Medieval Seals and the
Structure of Chivalric Society," in The Study of Chivalry, Resources and
Approaches, ed. H. Chickering and T. H. Seiler, Kalamazoo, Mich., 1988, 313-72;
and B. Bedos-Rezak, "Civic Liturgies and Urban Records in Northern France,
1100-1400," in City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe, ed. B. A. Hanawalt
and K. L. Reyerson, Mineapolis/London, 1994, 34-55.
94. Rooses-Ruelens (as in n. 2), 93.
95. Liedtke, I, 202: "Paintings of this size usually hung in the largest
room of a very large house."
96. Rooses-Ruelens (as in n. 2), 97.
97. See Biographie nationale belge, I, 1866, cols. 388-401 (L. P. Gachard);
and Balis, 22-25.
98. L. P. Gachard, Histoire politique et diplomatique de Pierre-Paul Rubens,
Brussels, 1877, 247.
99. Ibid., 247-51; and Balis, 22-25.
100. Balis, 25, comments: "Rather surprisingly in view of his quarrel
with Rubens, one of the works he brought there [to Madrid] was the latter's
101. H. Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique des origines à nos jours, 3d ed.,
Brussels, 1923, II, 490; Parker (as in n. 84), 255.
102. G. de Tervarent, Attributs et symboles dans l'art profane, 1450-1600,
Geneva,1958, col. 252; B. Rowland, Animals with Human Faces: A Guide to Animal
Symbolism, London, 1974, 161-67; Cesare Ripa, Iconologia (Rome, 1603), repr.,
Hildesheim/New York, 1970, 428.
103. Lomazzo (as in n. 49); Ulisse Aldrovandi, De Quadrupedibus Digitalis Vivaparis,
Bonn, 1645, 160.
104. R. Mousnier, The Institutions of France under the Absolute Monarchy, 1598-1789,
trans. B. Pearce, Chicago, 1979, I, 123.
105. C. Loyseau, A Treatise of Orders and Plain Dignities, ed. and trans. H.
A. Lloyd, Cambridge, 1994, 121-22.
106. Ibid., 124.
107. From the picture's inception, this figure was identified as a knight in
Rubens's imagination, as the Windsor drawing, the only surviving preparatory
sketch, attests. There the rider is shown in armor. Balis, 101,105, sees this
drawing as a sketch for another subject which Rubens realized could be adapted
to a hunting scene.
108. Loyseau (as in n. 105), 102, 104. Similar pronouncements are voiced by
other social commentators around this time: e.g.,, the Venetian ambassador
to France reports: "The true profession of the nobility and the one which
is most useful to the people and the king is that of warfare," while Montaigne
writes: "The proper and only and essential place for the nobility in France
is the military profession"; quoted from D. Bitton, The French Nobility
in Crisis, 1560-1640, Stanford,1969, 26.
109. Xenophon, Cynegeticus, 12.1-9; Xenophon, Scripta Minora, trans. E. C.
Marchant, Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, Mass./London, 1971 , 443-44.
110. See R. F. Millen and R. E. Wolf, Heroic Deeds and Mystic Figures: A New
Reading of Rubens' "Life of Maria de' Medici", Princeton, N.J., 1989,
111. V. Brants, Albert et Isabelle: Etudes d'histoire politique et sociale,
Louvain/Paris, 1910, 18-20. Albrecht applied to Philip III in 1599 for the
title of king, and after being turned down revived his quest in 1609 with an
application to the pope, who also refused him.
112. A similar rationale led to the genealogical portrait gallery Henri IV
commissioned in 1607 to decorate the Petite Galerie of the Louvre. The artist
assigned this task, Jacob Bunel, was required to portray "everything lifelike,
in the dress and clothing of the time of each reign and according to the originals
which Bunel will be provided with and which he will locate by his own diligence
and efforts." This project recalls the work that Antoine de Succa carried
out for the archdukes during the same decade. See H. Ballon, The Paris of Henri
IV, New York/Cambridge, Mass., 1991, 50-52.
113. De Clamorgan, 110.
114. De Clamorgan, 124v. For the consequences of the Fall for animals, see
J. Prest, The Garden of Eden: The Botanic Garden and the Re-Creation of Paradise,
New Haven/London, 1981,16-17; Thomas (as in n. 29), 22, 289; and Koslow (as
in n. 30), 212.
115. See Bitton (as in n. 108); G. Huppert, Les Bourgeois Gentilhommes: An
Essay on the Definition of Elites in Renaissance France, Chicago/London, 1977,
88, and passim; Mousnier (as in n. 104); and H. K. F. van Nierop, The Nobility
of Holland: From Knights to Regents, 1500-1650, trans. M. Ultee, Cambridge,