36 East 73rd Street New York City, NY 10021 United States 212.517.9176
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$ 16,000

A parrot and another bird on a branch in a sea landscape

Documentation Signed
Documentation Notes Inscribed at lower right: Maetens
Origin Netherlands
Period 18th Century
Materials Pen and watercolor
W. 9.15 in; H. 12.15 in;
W. 23.24 cm; H. 30.86 cm;
Condition Good.
Creation Date 1757-1823
Description Abraham Meertens was born in 1757 in Middlebourg. He was an important representative of the revival of the Flemish tradition in the late 18th century. Meertens entered the Guild of St. Luke in 1770 and was also one of the founders of the Academy, of which he became director. The best of Meertens’s ôeurve is seen in his landscapes, still-lifes and animal and bird pictures, such as the one shown here. In this gênre, Meertens emulates examples of Snyders, Fyt, and other famous Flemish masters of the 17th century. As a tribute to the dramatic spirit of his age, Meertens also executed compositions dedicated to the human struggle and the forces of nature as a hunt, often inserted in a tempestual landscape. Here also, in Meertens work, one perceives the models of 17th century artists, such as Potter, Wouwerman and others, though not as directly as in his still-life, animal, and bird paintings.
In this charming drawing, a tyrant flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), a bird from Central and South America, is depicted at the top of the composition, and, at the lower part of the composition, a more generic parrot, combining characteristic traits of various kinds of parrots, aras, and cockatoos. Such combination of meticulously realistic and the surreal, rendered in a very convincing manner, due primarily to its naturalistic character, was widespread in the 18th century. As a result of the wide diffusion of scientific illustration, the artist could take motifs for more free interpretation. Drawings, such as this folio, were collected not only by naturalists (it is widely proved by a presence on inscription on many of such folios, indicating Latin and colloquial names of a species and not the name of a painter) but also by art amateurs.
This drawing of Meertens is a precious and superb example of this important tradition, which is ultimately rooted in the Italian painting of early 16th century. This genre of semi-scientific and semi-fanciful drawings of animals, plants, shells, and other naturalia came from Raphael’s workshop, and especially from his collaborator Giovanna da Udine. Flemish masters, who created spectacular examples of still-lifes in European art, inherited the tradition in the 17th century. In the 18th century, as in this drawing, the tradition was enriched by a calm clearness of vision and systematic scientific approach, which arrived with the Enlightenment.
Styles / Movements Other
Incollect Reference Number 307169
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