|European Watercolors — Pieter Withoos - Northern Shoveler Duck|
|Pieter Withoos - Northern Shoveler Duck
Signed l. r.: P:W: fe:
Medium: Watercolor and gouache on paper within black ink framing lines
Dimensions: Paper size: 6” x 8 ½”; Framed size: 15 ¼” x 17 ½”
Pieter Withoos was a noted natural history painter in late seventeenth-century Amsterdam. He excelled in bird painting in addition to painting insects and flowers in the watercolor medium; his meticulous draftsmanship is evident in the delineation of each individual hair or feather of his species.
This technically flawless depiction of a Male Teal is a rare example of Withoos’ depictions of American species. Shown in profile, the duck is portrayed in exacting detail, with glossy, iridescent plumage and a distinct sense of vitality. In order to avoid distraction from the birds themselves, Withoos provided minimal details of setting, but his inclusion of small mounds of grassy earth is nonetheless highly naturalistic, and places each duck within a plausible environment.
Withoos was the second son of Matthias Withoos, a prominent Dutch artist who specialized in painting city views, landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes, as well as plants and insects. Matthias spent two years in Rome, during which he won wide renown for his natural history works and worked frequently for the illustrious Cardinal de Medici. It was he who trained Pieter in the field of painting, imparting his style of exacting realism to his talented, but short-lived, son.