An avid hunter himself, Goya devoted several drawings to the theme of the hunt, including at least ten in one of the ‘private’ albums of independent works which he formed at the end of his life, the so-called album F (or Sepia Album), generally dated to 1815-20 (see, in addition to the present sheet, P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Vie et œuvre de Francisco Goya, Freiburg and Paris, 1970, nos. 1510-8, ill.; and Gassier, op. cit., 1973, nos. F.97-F.106, ill.). Drawings from the series can be found at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 35.103.22, 35.103.23), The Morgan Library and Museum (inv. EVT 296), and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (J. Wilson-Bareau, Goya: Drawings from his Private Albums, exh. cat. London, Hayward Gallery, 2001, no. 66, ill.); one formerly in the Krugier collection was recently sold, Sotheby’s, London, 6 February 2014, lot 113.
Of the group, the present sheet counts among the most elaborate, showing a young man in an open landscape, holding his gun and accompanied by his dog. The animal’s pose, his mottled fur, the man’s gear and the shadow cast on his face by his hat are all evidence of Goya’s extremely agile yet subtle brushwork. The dog’s alertness stands in contrast to the man’s seemingly pensive mood, while the hunters’ prey remains invisible, adding to the viewer’s impression of witnessing a moment suspended in time. The landscape is reminiscent of that of Goya’s youth in Aragon.