Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Masterpiece of the Day: Farm Birds with a Macaw and a Tom-tit in a Tree, 1700-1750

This oil painting from the first half of the Eighteenth Century shows that exotic birds were quite the fashionable subject matter of the era. Depicted is a scene of domesticated waterfowl and other farm birds. They seem to gave appointed a large parrot and smaller colourful wild birds perched in a tree as their leaders.

Painted in Great Britain, this is the work of Jacob Bogdani who was born in Eperjes, Hungary, probably in 1660, the son of a landed gentleman. Bogdani travelled west, perhaps via Vienna, to Amsterdam between 1684 and 1686 and was residing in London by June 1688.

In this painting Bogdani has grouped together domestic British birds including a Tufted Duck, a Mallard and a Great Tit with the more exotic species of a Blue-and yellow Macaw, a Common Cardinal and a Red-faced Lovebird. Not only did this composition allow Bogdani to demonstrate his ability at painting a variety of textures, but it satisfied the demand for such scenes.

This painting is part of the collection of The Victoria & Albert Museum.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

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