Hens and Chickens, Pheasant and Peacocks
- 2nd half of the 17th c.
- Object type
- 91,6 x 108,5 cm
- The Palace on the Isle - Portrait Room, ground floor
- Marks and inscriptions
- signed M. D. Hondecoeter. on stone block, on right; red number 8 of the Stanisław August collection, bottom left
- Place of Origin
- Netherlands (Europe)
- The Royal Łazienki
- Museum number
- ŁKr 851
The pair of paintings [Hens and Chickens, Pheasant and Peacocks and Two Roosters, a Hen and Chickens, Pigeon and Hoopoe] was listed in the catalogues of the Stanisław August collection as being the work of Melchior de Hondecoeter, an attribution which had never been questioned. ...
... Hondecoeter devoted himself to painting birds in the late 1660s (the first known, certain painting, is dated 1668 ... ) and from then on he used the same compositional formula borrowed from Frans Snyders, whom he valued very highly. He depicted the birds in the close foreground, usually against an architectural element in the background—a stone block, wall or balustrade—closing one side of the composition; on the other side the view opened out onto a park or rural landscape ... . He used the same oil studies made from life and the same modelli for the birds many times throughout his career. De Hondecoeter’s paintings, highly valued by Dutchmen at that time, were also popular in the 18th century: their decorative qualities reflected the tastes of that epoch. Admired for his skill in recreating the shape and movement of birds, the texture and details of their feathers, and also for what was the most important feature of his depictions: expressiveness, and sometimes even the drama of a scene ... , the painter was given the nickname the ‘Raphael of birds’ in the 19th century. ... . [See D. Juszczak, H. Małachowicz, The Stanisław August Collection of Paintings at the Royal Łazienki. Catalogue, Royal Łazienki Museum, Warsaw 2016, no. 51, pp. 201–204.]