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27 May 2017

Treasures from German Museums

Demoiselle Crane (蓑羽鶴) ; Red-billed Toucan (紅嘴巨嘴鳥) and
Black Crowned-Crane (黑冕鶴)
Germany (2017)

2nd January, 2017. Bonn

The French court painter Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) set the vain beauty contest of three feathered opponents in his painting "Pfefferfresser, Jungfern- und Haubenkranich" (1745). The master of the exotic animal portrait does not only understand the virtuoso play with color and light. Experts also attest to a subtle and nuanced approach to his "models", which gives these almost human traits. On the threshold of Rococo at the time of the Enlightenment animals were also given a soul in animals.

Oudry, one of the most important painters of his time and a respected figure in the cultural life of Paris, studied the behavior of animals in nature. As court painter of Louis XV. He specialized in dramatic jazz scenes, which belonged to the king's favorite subjects. Famous is his zoologically accurate depiction of the exotic animals in the royal menagerie - especially the life-size picture of the Indian rhino lady "Clara". For about 25 years Oudry worked for the French court and made a name for himself all over Europe. Until his death, he created around 1000 paintings and 3000 drawings.

The impressive painting by Clara was shown in the Paris Salon in 1749, and in 1750 by Duke Christian Ludwig II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, together with a series of menagerie paintings. Around 56 drawings by the celebrated court painter went into the possession of the Schweriner Hof, so that today a closed collection of Oudry's works is still located in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. With 34 paintings - among them "pepper-eaters, gannets and caterpillars" - and about forty manuscripts, Schwerin owns the worlds largest collection of the French animal painter. The menagerie paintings were moved from Staatliche Museum Schwerin to the baroque palace Ludwigslust in 2016, 35 kilometers south of the state capital.
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