Livre de la Chasse, by Gaston Fébus

Of the bear and its nature - 27v. Livre de la Chasse, by Gaston Fébus (Français 616, Paris, early 15th c.) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris BnF

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Of the bear and its nature - 27v

The bear lives in the mountain where - like many other animals who had to abandon the plain - it took refuge to escape from man. This may be what the painter was suggesting by adding to the background a fertile pasture sown with small trees and rocky peaks, which we only see in this version. One of the bears nurses three cubs, although Fébus states that the female gives birth to just two cubs. This scene is another idyllic tableau in which the bears, male and female and with cubs both large and small, frolic amongst the herbs, climb trees, nibble or wash their paws. The savage reality in which the males often devour their young is omitted for the pleasure of the spectator.

Yves Christe,
Université de Genève


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