Attributed to Thomas da Modena

Attributed to Thomas da Modena
(1325/6-1379)

Sketchbook, 1360–80

Pen and brown ink, with brown wash and some watercolor, on parchment
9 1/8 x 6 7/8 inches (232 x 176 mm)

Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1924

II, 2–25 (folio 12)
Item description: 

The Morgan sketchbook comprises delicately rendered drawings of children's games, tourneys, labors of the month, daily occupations, grotesques, dancers, musicians, etc., on fourteen goatskin leaves.

One example is the hunt scene (folio 12), which in its composite nature resembles two of the illustrations in Tacuina manuscripts in Vienna and Rome as well as another in Liège with similar animal motifs. Set in a craggy landscape punctuated by three solitary trees, a young hunter, sporting a spear and blowing a horn, hides behind a hill as his hound successfully captures a hare by the hind leg; an owl stands by expectantly below to the right. Another scene of pursuit appears in the lower register, where a dog chases a bear while a cunning fox remains undiscovered, comfortably curled up beneath a tree.