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Wednesday 16 November 2016

Philips Galle’s engraving after Joannes Stradanus of 16th century bear hunting

Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)
“Bear Drive”, 1578 (or later) from the series, “Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium”, after Joannes Stradanus (aka Jan van der Straet; Giovanni della Strada; Jan van der Straeten; Giovanni Statenensis; Giovanni Stradano; Johannes Stradanus) (1523–1605)
Engraving on laid paper, trimmed to the image borderline, lined a support sheet of wove paper
Size: (sheet) 20.3 x 27.8 cm
Lettered within image: “Ioes Stradanus inven. / Phls Galle excu.”
New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 426.I (Johannes Stradanus) (Hollstein, F W H, “The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1993); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 524.I (Philips Galle); Baroni Vannucci 1997 693.21 (Baroni Vannucci, Alessandra, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori, 1997)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Bear Drive; in the left foreground, two hunters armed with spears target the bear's head as it bites into the arm of their companion, to the right, the bear lies defeated; in the middle distance, the hunt closes in on a bear; in the background, hunstmen, some on horseback, and a pack of hounds pursue a rearing bear” (

Condition: marvellous rich impression trimmed to the image borderline. The sheet has darken with time in a beautifully mellow way and it has been laid down on a support sheet. Beyond the yellowing and a few minor stains (in the sense of not being very visible) the sheet it is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds or foxing).

I am selling this action laden hunting scene for a total cost of AU$157 (currently US$117.42/EUR109.68/GBP94.44 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually arresting print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Scenes like this of bears being hunted may be upsetting for contemporary viewers, but when the image is viewed with the mindset of a 16th century audience for which it was created the subject is no doubt riveting. I know this to be close to the truth as the original design by Joannes Stradanus (aka Jan van der Straet) was for a tapestry in the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano near Florence and the image proved so popular that it —along with a host of other hunting scenes—were copied and published as engravings to satisfy popular demand for hunting scenes. In total 111 plates of hunting scenes were engraved: initially six were published by Hieronymus Cock (1518–70) and these were later republished without the ornament borders of the tapestries by Cock’s wife; Philips Galle (1537–1612) published another forty-four plates in 1578–80 and added another sixty-one plates fifteen years later.
(See a full explanation of the Stradanus and Galle relationship by Chris Michaelides, Curator Romance Studies:

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