Lorenzo Bonechi

The Deer Hunt


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Lorenzo Bonechi born 1955
Original title
La caccia al cervo
Etching, drypoint and aquatint on paper
Image: 829 × 987 mm
Purchased 1986

Catalogue entry

Lorenzo Bonechi born 1955

P77134 The Deer Hunt 1985

Etching, drypoint and aquatint 829 x 987 (32 5/8 x 38 7/8) on wove paper 1000 x 1194 (39 3/8 x 47); plate-mark 832 x 990 (32 3/4 x 39); printed and published by Carini, Florence in an edition of 35 Inscribed ‘Lorenzo '85' below image b.r. and ‘29/35' below image b.l.
Purchased from Fabian Carlsson Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1986
Lit: Franco Rella, Lorenzo Bonechi, exh. cat., Galleria Carini, Florence 1985, p.12

In P77134 a hunter walks from right to left, away from a mountainous landscape, and towards a forest, in pursuit of a deer. In the same year that P77134 was made Bonechi painted an oil painting of the same title, which is now in a private collection in London (repr. Franco Rella 1985, between pp.48 and 49 in col.). In the painting the image has been reversed and the hunter strides from left to right behind the deer. Franco Rella writes about the painting in the Galleria Carini catalogue as follows:

Perhaps it is fatigue that makes his steps insecure, for although his stride is still long and firm, his foot is reluctant to leave the ground and move forward ... The hunter pursues a deer - a mythical animal, the absolute prey, which ... holds the secret of life.

The deer suddenly bolts, and the forest seems to open up and swallow the animal into its shadows. The hunter continues his forward march in a straight line, at a tangent to the scroll-like terrain that envelops the deer and protects it, as in a casket. The hunter's march will keep him from reaching the deer ... His is thus a paradoxical hunt. As in the myth of Actaeon, it transforms the hunter himself into the prey - the prey of a destiny that gives him no rest, that imposes on him this interminable march, this infinite search.

Bonechi has approved Rella's interpretation of ‘The Deer Hunt' as a paradoxical hunt. He adds: ‘The deer is fleeting life: the elusiveness of life. The hunter seeks to seize the beautiful animal, to partake of the mystery in the inaccessible place, in the region of the unknown.'

P77134 is larger in scale than the other works by the artist in the Tate Gallery. Bonechi explains that he chose this larger format to ‘emphasise the power of the line, to augment the strength of the image, increasing the movement'.

A pastel of ‘The Deer Hunt' is in a private collection in New York.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1984-86: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions Including Supplement to Catalogue of Acquisitions 1982-84, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.318

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