Head of a Hound
Head of a Hound has always startled with its realism and textural brilliance. Pieter Boel (1622-1674) uses thick, brushy paint and the texture of the canvas to draw our attention to this hunting dog’s bristly fur, particularly near its eyebrows and whiskered muzzle. The painting’s intimate size and highly-textured brushwork give the hound a striking presence, almost as if it is lifting its chin for a scratch. Such an informal, close-up view suggests that Boel may have painted this dog from life.
Boel was a Flemish artist with a special interest in hunting scenes and game pieces. Head of a Hound was probably used by Boel as a preparatory study for his painting entitled A Boar Attacked by Hounds (dated 1645-65) at the castle of Mosigkau, Germany. Boel later moved to Paris after 1668, where he designed many pieces for the Gobelins tapestry factory.