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Two rabbits

Jacopo dal Ponte, known as Jacopo Bassano (Bassano del Grappa 1510 c. - 1592)

1570 - 1575 c.
Charcoal, black chalk, multi-coloured pastels (pink, yellow, orange and purple), red chalk, on cerulean blue paper
15.9 x 24.1 cm
no. 811 Orn

The two rabbits represent a recurring feature in Bassano's paintings, although a direct link has been also recognized with the Entry of the Animals into Noah’s Ark, a subject which, much like other works from Jacopo Bassano’s workshop, was treated many times but whose earliest version (Madrid, Museo del Prado, inv. P00022) dates to the early 1580s.

In this drawing, the artist’s use of colours and coloured paper enables him to achieve warm tones in terms of colour and light; the lightly applied and fragmented strokes of charcoal, black chalk and, above all, brightly coloured pastels express the quivering tremor of the two animals crouching in the grass and produce a fresh and vibrant naturalism. The decision to use different colours, which is quite frequent in Bassano's work, is not purely to create realism: Jacopo “draws with colour” to shorten distances and blur the distinction between the conceptual phase of a preparatory drawing and the moment the final painting is executed.

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