|European Watercolors Gallery|
|Nicolas Robert (1614-1685) was one of the greatest natural history artists|
of the 17th century, and his work established standards combining scientific
accuracy and esthetic appeal that influenced generations of artists and won
the respect and patronage of the French royal family. Robert created a
vast, exquisite body of work for the French Crown. Along with other
artists, Robert was commissioned by Gaston d'Orleans, brother of Louis XIII,
to create watercolors of the rare plants and exotic birds he had assembled
in his garden at Blois and the MÚnagerie at Versailles. Robert's talent was
recognized quickly as being superior to that of other artists working for
the royal family, and after Gaston d'Orleans's death, he was quickly placed
under the patronage of the Sun King, Louis XIV. As a reward for the
stunning works he painted for the king's personal collection, Robert was
named "Peintre Ordinaire du Roi" in 1666, a title that confirmed his
continuing fame and patronage.
Robert was the first significant contributor to a collection of fine
watercolors on vellum that became known, collectively, as the Velins du Roi
(the King's Vellums). The watercolors Robert completed under Gaston
d'Orleans and then Louis XIV for the royal collection fed the interest and
provided the inspiration for the great masters of botanical and
ornithological art who followed: Jean Joubert, Nicholas Marechal, Gerard van
Spaendonck and, of course, Pierre-Joseph RedoutÚ. Thus the extremely fine
print work of Parisian natural historians and flower painters as late as
1825 can be traced directly back to the strength of Robert's tradition.
Probably executed for noble patrons, these stunning ornithological
watercolors date from around the time of Robert's period in the court of
Louis XIV. The birds are defined with subtle modulations of delicate hues,
and the simple yet monumental compositions combine flawless artistry with
Robert's characteristic attention to scientific precision. The vast
majority of Robert's watercolors are housed in public institutions,
including the Musee d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, the British Museum in
London, and the Hofbibliothek in Vienna. These watercolors represent an
unusual opportunity to obtain original, unique works by a highly important
and exceptionally talented artist. The brilliance that made the Sun King
recognize Robert as the preeminent watercolorist of his day is still evident
in these pristine and charming works.
|Publication City: Paris|
Medium: Watercolors on vellum with gold fillets.
Date: circa 1670
|SELECTIONS FROM THIS WORK|
Nicolas Robert - Flamingo circa 1670
Northern Cardinal (Female)ácirca 1670
Robert - Canard des Bahamas - White Cheeked Pintail (Anas bahamensis).
Robert - Faisan DorÚ - Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus).
Robert - Grand Bec-Scie - Duck Goosander (Mergus merganser).
Robert - Huţtrier Pie - Pied Oystercatcher - (Haematopus ostralegus).
Robert - Jeune Spatule Blanche - Young Spoonbill (Platalea leucordia).
Robert - Merle Noir Albinos - Albino Blackbird (Turdus merula).
Robert - Oie D Egypte - Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus).
Robert - Parrot (fictitious)
Robert - Roosters
White Pelicanácirca 1670