Friday Art: A Hare In The Forest by Hans Hoffmann (1585)

I see bunny rabbits every morning when I take my walk so it looks like nothing has changed for five hundred years as far as walks in the woods go. Bunnies are still just as cute as they ever were, still just as wary and easily terrified.

16th century Hans Hoffmann is not to be confused with the 20th century abstract expressionist artist Hans Hoffmann (unless it’s actually the same guy and he’s a vampire… someone ought to look into that). The 16th century Hoffman was an acolyte of Albrecht Durer, and copied a lot of Durer’s work as well as Durer’s style. Hoffman’s hare, above, certainly evokes the amazing illustration of a hare that Durer did earlier in 1502:

Durer gets more reality in the fur (it’s like he painted every follicle separately) and a little more individual character in the face… but I like the way Hoffman sets his more cuddly-lookin’ hare in a wonderfully detailed forest background. Like any of the “Durer Renaissance” school (or Northern European art in general) the attention to small detail is amazing. The leaves, flowers, trees… all of it looks somewhat realistic, yet somehow Hoffmann stylizes them in a way that harkens back to simpler medieval art. It almost looks like a tapestry. There’s almost a slightly cartoon-y quality to those Dandelion-esque greens and other surroundings. Maybe it’s the colors being a bit too bright and unnatural, but it works.

Bunnies are cute and harmless… or are they? I understand that if they’re insulted by a mere 2 cent bounty, they fly off the handle and cut Florida loose among other things…

South America, take it away!


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