A Hen with Chicks, a Rooster and Pigeons
Amsterdam, about 1675
Oil on canvas
96.5 x 78.7 cm
Hondecoeter was the most important specialist bird painter of the day. Here, he typically combines a faithful depiction of different species, based on a striking technique, with a subtle characterisation of the birds.
Each chick has a different personality, ranging from upright and confident to shy and retiring, amounting to an almost human drama. In the centre, the mother hen catches our eye as in a portrait, whilst the rooster keeps a fatherly watch over everything. The artist includes his trademark stray feathers in the foreground.
Purchased 2001, with generous assistance from the Resource/V&A Purchase Grant Fund (No.2001.2)