The Hare Hunters (1566)

Bruegel the Elder, Pieter (c.1525-1569)

The Hare Hunters
Etching in black on ivory laid paper, 21.5 × 29.2 cm
Art Institute of ChicagoChicago

This etching might represent two related proverbs popularized by the philosopher/writer Erasmus in the mid-1500s: “He who chases two hares catches neither” and “A hare yourself, you hunt for prey.” In compositional terms, the proverb served Pieter Bruegel the Elder as more of a pretext for the sweeping landscape scene that occupies most of the printed field. Bruegel’s influence on the early development of the landscape genre cannot be overestimated. He created important landscape drawings, but his impact spread even more forcefully through the medium of printmaking. This is the only etching he is believed to have executed himself. (AIC)

See also:

• Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536)