Hans Hoffmann is living in Nuremberg, where Dürer had made most of his career. The Hare by Dürer had remained in the city, in the collection of a rich citizen.
This drawing is a highly important example in art history of the capability for an artist to achieve a perfect realism. Dürer showed the hare against a plain background. Hoffmann puts it up to date to his own time by surrounding it with a profusion of plants and animals that appeal to the desire for knowledge of his patrons.
Hares by Hoffmann are not simple copies of Dürer's model. Although the general attitude is similar, the angle varies along with the attention given by the animal to its surrounding and even its age identifiable by the length of its ears.
On December 8 in London, Christie's sells a young hare in the field by Hoffmann, lot 15 estimated £ 4M. This watercolor, gouache and gum arabic on vellum 62 x 59 cm was realized in 1582 during the period when the artist was in Nuremberg. He will continue his career briefly in Munich and, from 1585, in Prague at the court of Rudolf II.
Hoffmann does not hide the influence of Dürer on his art. Dürer had put a reflection in one eye of his hare. The sharpest reflection inserted by Hoffmann in both eyes is a direct tribute to his great predecessor.
The biological diversity meets a goal of describing life that was not in the moods at the time of Dürer and reminds that Hoffmann was a contemporary of Hoefnagel and Arcimboldo. No less than 17 plants and 14 animals are included in his picture of the hare in the field.
The image below is slightly truncated.