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- Author Philipp Ferdinand de Hamilton (1644–1750) or Johann Georg de Hamilton(1672–1737) (?)
- Date of production the beginning of the 18th century
- Dimensions height: 35 cm, width: 21 cm
- ID no. M 40–56
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 1820, purchased by Jan Peszka
- Object copyright Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
The preserved collection of paintings, called, The album of plants and animals, is identified as the representations of plants and animals which are known from a source text and were purchased for the School of Drawing and Painting by the painter Józef Peszka. A document has been preserved in the archives of the Jagiellonian University, in which Peszka enumerates the items purchased for the school in 1920. In the list, under number 7, he wrote: “A collection of oil-painted animals and birds and flowers on a thick folio paper 30 pieces PLN 540”.more
At the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, there is a collection of sixteen small oil paintings depicting animals (9) and plants (7). All paintings were made on painting supports glued together using several sheets of handmade paper, size 35 by 21 cm. The boards, sorted by inventory numbers, depict:
1) M 40 Three tulips
2) M 41 Forest animals
3) M 42 Gulls
4) M 43 Capercaillie
5) M 44 Camels
6) M 45 Owls
7) M 46 Parrots
8) M 47 Otters
9) M 48 Irises and lilies
10) M 49 Poppies
11) M 50 Trumpet vine
12) M 51 Cloves
13) M 52 Crane and cassowary
14) M 53 Oleander
15) M 54 Four tulips
16) M 55 Monkeys
The preserved collection of paintings, called, The album of plants and animals, is identified as the representations of plants and animals which are known from a source text and were purchased for the School of Drawing and Painting by the painter Józef Peszka. A document has been preserved in the archives of the Jagiellonian University, in which Peszka enumerates the items purchased for the school in 1920. In the list, under number 7, he wrote: “A collection of oil-painted animals and birds and flowers on a thick folio paper 30 pieces PLN 540”.
It is not known from whom and where the boards were purchased. They were supposed to serve as models for copying by students. Copying was one of the basic ways of learning. This purpose of the “Book of Plants and Animals” is indicated by the note on the back of the card with the number M 52: “Drawn by Ignacy Kapuściński”, bearing the year 1888. Such sets of representations also served as templates: workshop aids providing information on the appearance of objects, plants and animals for the purposes of preparing larger painting compositions. A similar function was later adopted by photographs and now by Internet resources.
The set of sixteen boards in the collections the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts has, in recent years, been attributed to Philipp Ferdinand or Johannes George de Hamilton. They were painters active in the eighteenth century in Vienna and specializing in this genre of art. Philipp Ferdinand and Johann Georg were sons of James Hamilton, a Scottish painter working in Brussels. The Hamilton family specialised in animal painting: they performed, among others, representations of hunts, hunting still lifes (still lifes displaying hunting trophies) and scenes showing the life of animals. In addition to the native fauna and flora, they also depicted exotic plants and animals. One can guess that the Hamiltons used illustrated scientific literature from the field of nature and observes royal menageries, as well as stuffed animals and the dried skins of exotic birds, collected by their aristocratic principals.
The authorship of the brothers de Hamilton, though unconfirmed, seems likely, due to the fact that both were active in Vienna. The local academy was a reference point for the School of Drawing and Painting in Kraków from the beginning of its existence. Various teaching aids, such as plaster casts of antique sculptures, were also obtained from Vienna. Sixteen small pictures in the collections of the Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts could have been created especially for sale as a template for other painters or were used as such by the very same animal painters who created them.
Elaborated by Adam Spodaryk (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.