Aelst, Willem van, Mauritshuis, 1671, 58,8 cm x 47,8 cm

Date Created: 28 June 2016

Author: Aelst, Willem van (1627-1683)

Source: Falconry in Art Facebook

Owner: Mauritshuis

Location: Haag, the Netherlands

  • Netherlands
  • Falcon
  • Painting
  • 17th Century
  • Hoods
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Comments from Charlie Boterletter:

A very beautiful Still life painting from this Dutch Master. Perhaps more interesting is the story behind the image of this painting which Willem van Aelst had in mind when working on it. Singling out one example I like to draw your attention to location of the falcon hood hanging as the highest displayed object more or less in the middle of the painting. During the Seventeenth Century in many hunting still life paintings made by Dutch & Flemish Masters, in which Falcons (Gyrs), Hawks and/or falconry equipment are displayed, one will notice that mostly the Falcon is positioned at the highest point of all objects. This effectively shows the superiority of its owner, which at those days was mostly a King or an Emperor or at least a very highly placed person. Effectively the Gyrfalcon replaced the King who often was commissioner of this painting and with which his superiority was portrayed. At a later stage the painter simply substituted the bird of prey by simply painting the hood of the falcon instead and placed it aloof of all other objects. easy of course and much quicker done! Thanks to Professor Dr. Herman Roodenburg (Meertens Institute, Amsterdam) & Dr. Yannis Hadjinicolaou (Humboldt University, Berlin) who are presently working on a scientific research on the political iconography of falconry in the European, Arabic and Persian visual arts. The I.A.F. is the patron.

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