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Melchior de Hondecoeter : “Peacocks” (1683)

Archival Inkjet on Matte Finish Fine Art Paper

The Ibis’s giclée process uses archival pigment inks on 100% cotton rag paper to achieve crisp detail and rich, lasting color. Unlike posters, they will not yellow with time, but will maintain their original quality for as long as you own them. If you are unhappy with your print for any reason, you are welcome to return it for a full refund.

The Dutch painter Melchior de Hondecoeter specialized in images of birds and other animals. In an era before photography, when most artists contented themselves with painting mounted specimens, it was a challenge to depict live animals behaving naturally. Art critic Charles Blanc writes that “…before having succeeded so well…Hondecoeter made a long study, not only of [the subject’s] external form, but of its habits, customs and manner of life. His studio had been turned into a menagerie, or, rather, a game preserve. He had paid particular attention to the education of a handsome cock, which seemed to comprehend every word and gesture of his master; and who, at the slightest sign, came near the easel and posed, often in very fatiguing attitudes, for hours.”

Of Peacocks, the Metropolitan Museum of Art observes that, “The trees and architecture depicted here…suggest a grand old country estate. It was in such settings that aristocratic Europeans assembled rare birds and animals, cultivated unusual plants, and collected shells and other naturalia. Like earlier still-life painters, in particular Otto Marseus van Schrieck (1619/20–1678), Hondecoeter turned curiosities of nature into curiosities of art, and — on the scale seen in this painting — into elements of interior decoration. The peacock, which served as a symbol of pride in much earlier Netherlandish pictures, would have been recognized immediately as a creature from another continent, in this case southeastern Asia and the East Indies. In the confines of a room hung with paintings by Hondecoeter, it was easy to imagine not only the great outdoors of the Dutch countryside but also the entire world of Dutch overseas trade.”

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