Boar hunt in the style of Frans Snijders, early 17th century

Wild boar hunt in the style of Frans Snijders, 17th century

The style of this painting is very close to the Antwerp born painters Frans Snijders (1579-1657) and Paul de Vos (1595-1678). There are numerous similarities, particularly with the work of Snijders. Snijders painted many hunting scenes, especially boar hunts. His skies are often dramatised with an ochre or dark yellow base tone. The foliage in the Snijders’ paintings are often painted with heavy strokes and represented as a dark mass. The violence of the hunting scenes with wild boars being attacked by furious hounds is emotionally amplified by the bloodshot eyes of all the animals. Often, in Snijders paintings, one of the attackers is being staved off by the boar, protecting its young. In the painting a dog is flying through the air, wounded and upside down. The painting is flowing with movement and drama.

Details

The details from this painting will be explained below
An ominous sky with heavily painted leaves

Detail 1 [sky]:

The heavily painted leaves and ominously yellow tint of the clouded sky are typical characteristics of the work of Frans Snijders. His contemporary Paul de Vos (1597-1678) painted comparable hunting scenes, but his foliage is painted more preciously and has a lighter appearance, as the sky is predominantly clear blue. The scenes of De Vos are no less violent though, but they appear less dark and gloomy.

Bloodshot eyes expressing rage and fear

Detail 2 [eyes]:

The white of the eyes of the animals on Snijders’ paintings are often red. The eyes are bloodshot with bloodthirstiness, or agony. This simple detail heightens the drama of the paintings and lends it a special vehemence. The hunt is depicted on its violent climax, the moment where the quarry is seized by the frenzied hounds. The young boar in this detail does not stand a chance against the raging hound.

One of the hounds flies through the air, wounded

Detail 3 [beaten dog]:

The pack of hounds has the upper hand, but the boar does not surrender without a fight. On Snijders’ paintings, one of the dogs is often depicted as being thrown in the air by the prey. Here we see a wounded hound, his legs helplessly pointing upwards, flying through the air as it is tossed away by the furious boar. One of the tusks has hit the breast of the dog and it is injured. The end of the story, however, is certain. One wounded dog cannot change the fate of the boars.

back of the panel with location of the framemaker’s marks

The image is painted on a wooden panel. The panelmaker has engraved the Antwerpen marks and his personal mark on the back of the panel. The Antwerp Saint Luke’s guild made using these marks compulsory. Panel- and framemakers were typically members of the guild. The Antwerpen mark consists of two hands and a castle.

Marks of the Antwerp Saint Luke’s guild and of the panelmaker Guilliam Gabron.

Identifying maker’s marks, especially if they don’t consist of simple geometric shapes or letters, is difficult. Often they are only partially visible, and not all maker’s marks have been identified. In the case of this panel the mark is probably by Guilliam (or William) Gabron (ca. 1609-1662). Gabron had a long career as a panel- and framemaker. His makers mark originally was a combination of two capital G’s. It evolved into a complex combination of two capital G’s and a kind of quatrefoil. At first sight, it may be mistaken for a French lily or fleur-de-lis. The maker’s mark is very similar, if not identical to the mark of Gabron, which dates the panel in the first half of the seventeenth century.

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