Chiens de chasse et lièvre mort (1857)

Courbet, Gustave (1819-1877)

Chiens de chasse et lièvre mort (Hunting Dogs with Dead Hare)
Oil on canvas, 92.7 x 148.6 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Set in a forest, two hunting dogs face off as they await their owner; they and a dead hare are the only traces of human presence. In fact, Courbet repeated the dogs from his slightly earlier The Quarry (Museum of Fine ArtsBoston), which features a stag instead of a hare, as well as a hunter and his servant. Their absence here effectively leaves the viewer alone with the prey. Because this picture dates to the same year that Courbet debuted hunting scenes at the Paris Salon of 1857, it demonstrates his early awareness of the potential for the theme to evoke pathos. (MET)