Melchior De Hondecoeter
A natural draughtsman with an eye for the smallest detail, Melchior De Hondecoeter trained under his father, Gysbert, and was heavily influenced by the works of his uncle, Jan Baptist Weenix.
He seldom departed from depicting wildfowl, poultry and more exotic species of birds in landscape and farmyard scenes and excelled at capturing the movement of birds in full action. One of his most innovative contributions to painting was to cut off flora and fauna at the edge of the canvas, thereby making the painting feel more natural. Even in his own lifetime, he was hailed as the master of Dutch bird painting.
His inclusion of ruins and other architectural features in many canvasses gives them a classical Italianate feel, which must have appealed to the collectors of the day. His works were enormously popular in late seventeenth century Holland and Europe, and can be seen today in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Pitti Palace, Florence; National Gallery and the Wallace Collection, London; Die Alte Pinakothek, Munich; Louvre, Paris; The Metropolitan, New York and also collections in Antwerp, Boston and Cardiff.