Thursday, October 24, 2013

Painting of the Day: Bogdani's Birds and Fruit in a Landscape, c. 1708

Birds and Fruit in a Landscape
Jakob Bogdani, 1708-1710
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection 
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Jakob Bogdani (c. 1660-1720) created this lovely and colorful painting between 1708 and 1710 either for King William III or Queen Anne. The piece is done in the Dutch style. In Holland, Melchior de Hondecoeter (1636-95) had established the fashion for large-scale paintings devoted to showcasing exotic birds in the setting of a formal garden. Soon, the fashion spread and was emulated by artists like Bogdani for important aristocratic or royal clientele.

Bogdani was born in Hungary and moved to Amsterdam in 1684. There, he saw first-hand the works of Melchior de Hondecoeter and learned from the artist. Soon Bogdani had perfected his own specialty-- the depiction of plants, birds and animals. By 1688, Bogdani settled in England, where, according to George Vertue, he was "much encouraged” by Queen Anne as well as hired to work as a court artist for William III.

This piece is actually one of a pair of bird scenes created at the same time by Bogdani. Some say they were for Queen Anne, but they could have easily been commissioned by William III. The existence of the paintings was first recorded in the “Painted Staircase” at Kensington Palace during the reign of George I. On the left of this canvas, a large cockatoo is perched on a stone near a large tree trunk. Meanwhile, to the right, parrots and passerines gather around a cluster of peaches, grapes and fruits.

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