Elephant Hunting, Circle of Antonio Tempesta


Circle of Antonio Tempesta

Florence 1555 – Rome 1630

Elephant Hunting

Pen and brush, brown ink, brown wash. Watermark Angel.

177 x 292 mm – 7 x 11 ½ in.



A.E. Popham; by descent to the owner when it was sold at Bonhams, London, 10th April 2013, lot 221; private collection.


By its rare subject and composition, this drawing relates to an etching of the same subject by Antonio Tempesta. Like our drawing, it represents hunters wearing oriental turbans as they attack an elephant, which powerfully fights back.

Our drawing is in the other direction and bears important differences: the elephant is much bigger, both the attacking hunter and the man thrown up in the air are seen from behind, whereas their faces are clearly visible on the engraving. Other figures and elements are placed in a different way, such as the horses running away on the right-side, which are much closer to the elephant than on the print. The draftsmanship, although very refined, cannot be identified with certainty as Tempesta’s and the drawing must therefore be situated in the artist’s close circle.

Framing options

Pas de cadre, Cadre Louis XVI plat Or (4cm), Cadre Louis XVI plat Noir et Or (4cm), Cadre plat (4cm) teinté ébène, Cadre inversé (3,3 cm) teinté ébène, Cadre Louis XVI or (3cm)