Vittore Carpaccio, Huntsman

Artist | Vittore Carpaccio (ca. 1465-1525/26)
Title | Huntsman
Date | ca.1490–1510
Medium | Black chalk, bistre ink, and white heightening on blue paper
Dimensions | 238 x 170 mm
Institution | Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich (link to online catalogue)
Credit Line | © Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München 
Theme | Composing Space and Creating Action
Museum number | 2947 Z

This drawing by Vittore Carpaccio (ca. 1460–ca. 1526) depicts a male figure bending forward. Attributes like the bugle and the dagger identify him as a huntsman. No known painting by Carpaccio contains a figure corresponding to this huntsman. Carpaccio executed large paintings with stage-like compositions, filled with various figures in different positions and often dressed in sophisticated costumes. The painter’s interest in costumes may have derived from his father’s profession as a furrier. In this drawing, Carpaccio might have studied a type of pose and costume which he could later include in his paintings in multiple variations. While Carpaccio’s compositional studies were largely executed on neutral paper with red chalk, the artist preferred black chalk on blue paper for his studies of single figures. Indeed, blue paper and white heightening allowed Carpaccio to play with light and shade and transfer the qualities of Venetian colorito to the monochromatic drawing.


We are grateful for the guidance of Maria Aresin and Kurt Zeitler.