Lucas Cranach the Elder (c.1472-1553), The Stag Hunt of the Elector Frederic the Wise (1463-1525) of Saxony, 1529
Today, anyone can join the traditional annual Hubertus hunt in Dyrehaven. But in Cranach’s day, hunting with hounds and horses was the reserve of monarchs and the aristocracy. In fact, taking part in the sport was practically mandatory, for it also provided practice in the art of war.
An upperclass pursuit
Cranach painted several scenes of hounds wearing out their quarry before the killing blow is delivered. The paintings share similar compositions: the landscape is viewed from a bird’s eye perspective, allowing the artist to clearly describe all the stages of the hunt. Lords and kings favoured hunting scenes that showed themselves and their entire hunting party engaged in this strictly upper-class pursuit. Cranach was a court painter for the Elector Frederic the Wise of Saxony from 1504/1505 until his death.