Oil on canvas.
Our composition features an elegant Dutch woman feeding her parrot in a window recess. The "Gabonese Gray" is perched on her right hand and, with a gentle gesture, she hands him a slice of wet bread with the other hand. These paintings featuring exotic birds delighted wealthy amateurs in their time. They do not fail to evoke the fortune that many Dutch people have made by traveling across the seas.
As aspired by the "emulative imitation" that reigns in the United Provinces in this second half of the 17th century, and like his predecessors Johannes Vermeer, Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris, Jan Steen or even Gabriel Metsu, Godfried Schalcken borrows from the “bank of images composed of forms, patterns, manners and techniques (1)” of the Fijnschilders (the precious painters) of Leiden.
The technical and artistic quality of our painting is remarkable; it combines all the characteristics one would expect to find in such a work; the realism of the feathers of the bird, the transparency and the volumes of the bottle, the reflections of the silky fabrics or the mesh of the carpet illustrate the painter's mastery. Thus, materials and textures appear real to the eyes of the viewer. We will also appreciate the subtlety in the treatment of the decor in the shade; the suspended cage, the large vase on its sheath and the rolling midnight blue curtain.
Provenance: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, Christies sale in London 12-14 March 1947, lot 54. In private collection since.
Exhibition: Old and modern masters - June 1949
In its wood veneer frame and Renaissance-style ornaments.
Dimensions: 40 x 32 cm - 53 x 45 cm with the frame
Godfried Schalcken or Gottfried Schalken (Made 1643 - La Haye 1706) was trained with two pupils of Rembrandt: Gerrit Dou (1613 - 1675) and Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627 - 1678). First active in Leiden, Dordrecht and The Hague, he stayed in England from 1692 to 1697, where he served the court of William III.
Like most of the talented painters in the United Provinces, Godfried Schalcken paints many variations on scenes of luxurious interiors. Under the influence of Gerrit Dou, he produced intimate, candle-lit genre paintings and made them a "trademark". These scenes are sought after and make it famous across the continent.
Antoine Vreem (1660 Dordrecht -1681), Arnold Boonen (1669 Dordrecht -1729 Amsterdam) and Carel de Moor are his pupils.
- Collective, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, 2017
- Thierry Beherman, Godfried Schalcken, 1988
(1) Eric Jan Sluijter, Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting.