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Francesco Zuccarelli (Pitigliano 1702-Florence 1788)

A hunting scene c.1750

Black and white chalk on blue paper faded to brown | 65.2 x 48.8 cm | RCIN 451842

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A black and white chalk framed drawing on blue paper faded to brown. A landscape scene with a horse, huntsmen, a hound and in the distance a hunted stag. This is one of five large chalk drawings by Zuccarelli in the Royal Collection, uniform in height and drawn in black and white chalks on a blue paper that has discoloured to a dull brown through exposure to light over the last 250 years. Such large chalk drawings are highly unusual, perhaps unique, in Zuccarelli’s oeuvre - his independent landscape drawings are generally small, and executed in light pen and wash - but the composition and figure types leave little doubt that the drawings are his. All five drawings are romantic landscapes of a type common in Italian art from the seventeenth century onwards, with no specific subject but featuring peasants, travellers and huntsmen arranged before towns, trees and picturesque vistas. There is no evidence of how these drawings entered the Royal Collection. The paintings by Zuccarelli in the Collection were acquired both from Joseph Smith and directly from the artist when he was in England between c.1764 and c.1771; but the unaccustomed nature of the drawings suggests that they were executed for Smith, who likewise seems to have induced Canaletto to produce drawings of a type unusual for the artist. Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004