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A Hawk and a Brood Hen Frans Snyders


Frans Snyders Antwerp, 1579 – Antwerp, 1657

Culture flemish
Date 1646
Object type painting
Medium, technique oil on canvas

113 x 158 cm
with frame: 138.5 x 183 x 14 cm

Inventory number 751
Collection Old Master Paintings
On view Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Cabinet 8

Frans Snijders, the greatest master of Flemish baroque still-life painting, began his career in Antwerp as a pupil of Pieter Brueghel the Younger. This painting is one of his few works that are dated, and its message is about protecting the innocent. Although this notion appears in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17), the immediate source for Snijders’s picture was a fable about a brood hen protecting her chicks from predators, featuring in a collection of tales illustrated with engravings by Marcus Gheeraerts. The painter here focused on arranging the poultry into a dynamic, decorative composition, sensitively evoking the maternal instinct, and realistically conjuring up the drama of the moment. The landscape background, with its Arcadian atmosphere, is most likely the work of Jan Wildens.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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