Jan van Kessel the Elder - Birds fighting
Jan van Kessel the Elder
Oil on copper. 18.5 x 25.5 cm.
This work depicts a flock of birds beneath a tree, startled by an agressive owl standing in their midst with outstretched wings, which has grasped two smaller birds in its talons. The right of the painting opens onto a panorama in which a pig and a two horses graze peacefully. The motif of birds perching on a branch with an owl at the center is known from Jan Breughel the Elder's Concerts of Birds, which were also painted by his son Jan II. Jan van Kessel also created numerous paintings with this motif, which is not unusual considering that he was a grandson of Jan Brueghel I and both newphew and pupil to Jan Brueghel II. However, he depicted such battles between larger and smaller birds more frequently than his relatives - a particularly fine example of this type being "Hollow Tree by the Water with Birds" in the Musée d´Art et d´Histoire in Geneva (K. Ertz, illus. 33. no. 168).
Dr. Klaus Ertz, April 2014.
For this artist, cf.: K. Ertz, C. Nitze-Ertz: Die Maler Jan van Kessel, Lingen 2012.