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Hunting Scene

Tempesta Antonio

(Florence 1555 - Rome 1630)

This ink drawing on parchment featured in the inventories of the Borghese collection from at least 1693 but may have been added to the collection at the time of Cardinal Scipione Borghese. The attribution to Antonio Tempesta, first made in the 1790 inventory, is generally accepted by critics, though there have been attempts to assign the work to other artists, in particular the remarkable draughtsman and engraver Stefano Della Bella.

Object details

c. 1615
ink on parchment
11 x 16 cm.

Rome, Borghese Collection Inv., 1693, Room XI, nos. 38-39; Inv., 1790, Room VII, no. 66; Inventario Fidecommissario Borghese 1833, p. 26, no. 9. Purchased by Italian State, 1902.


Against a background of a hilly landscape dotted with buildings, and framed by a leafy tree on the left, in the foreground, we have one of the typical scenes painted and etched by the artist, namely a deer hunt. The animal tries to escape but is prevented by a hunter with a spear standing on the left, while on the opposite side, it is pursued by a horseman accompanied by three dogs and an attendant. The drawing would appear to be consistent with Antonio Tempesta’s style and is dated around 1615.

The drawing, executed in pen on parchment, appears, unattributed, in the Borghese inventory of 1693: “two other smallish, horizontal-format paintings about half a palm high with glass in front, one in paper, drawn with a pen, Caccia (Hunt), the other in stone with small villages with black frames. No. 267, Uncertain”. The 1790 inventory indicated the author: “A hunt, Antonio Tempesta, on parchment”. Tempesta's name remained in Piancastelli's catalogues (1891) and was also accepted by Adolfo Venturi (1893) and later by Roberto Longhi (1928). Paola Della Pergola (1959) speculated, on the basis of payment orders for artists who worked for the Borghese family between 1615 and 1616, that the work was added to Cardinal Scipione's collection along with the most important works by Tempesta himself, in this case perhaps as a direct gift from the artist. It is worth noting that Maria Catelli Isola (1976), on the basis of a comparison with Stefano Della Bella's Convito all'aperto (Outdoor Banquet), maintained that the Borghese drawing could be attributed to this artist because of of their stylistic similarity, compositional approach and technique.

Pier Ludovico Puddu

  • X. Barbier de Montault, Les Musées et Galeries de Rome, Rome 1870, p. 357;
  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 260;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 219;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle gallerie italiane. La Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 223;
  • P. Della Pergola Galleria Borghese. I dipinti, 2, Roma 1959, pp. 53-54, n.75;
  • P. Della Pergola L’Inventario Borghese del 1693 (III), in “Arte antica e moderna”, 30, 1965, p. 208;
  • M. Catelli Isola, Disegni di Stefano Della Bella, 1610 - 1664; dalle collezioni del Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe, catalogo della mostra (Roma, Villa Farnesina alla Lungara, 1976), a cura di M. Catelli Isola, Roma 1976, p. 20.