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Blackcock
  • Artist David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl (German - Swedish, 1628 - 1698)
  • TitleBlackcock
  • Dating 1697
  • Technique/MaterialOil on canvas
  • Dimensions67 x 83,5 cm
  • AcquisitionPurchased with contributions from Melcher Lyckholm, 1915
  • CategoryPainting
  • Inventory NumberGKM 0540
  • Display StatusNot shown in the museum
Description
Signatures etc.
Bibliography
As a court painter, David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl mainly worked the portraits and allegorical motifs that would present the Swedish monarchy in the best light. Yet he also painted Nature and hunting motifs. He was responsible for some of the first landscape motifs in the country’s history, although they were not the pure landscapes we are used to seeing from the Romantic period onwards. No, his landscapes form the background to portraits, or are populated by animals, mostly the king’s horses and dogs. Grouse and lekking grouse appear in several works.

This painting shows a game-bag: a blackcock with curled-in claws, hanging in feather from an iron hook against a wooden wall. The same blackcock with its outstretched wings is shown from two perspectives, on the left the back and on the right the breast. The painting calls to mind the Flemish seventeenth-century painter Jan Fyt’s hunting still lifes (an animal painting and a hunting still life by him are in the Museum’s collection). Ehrenstrahl’s painting, though, has more of the character of a trompe l’oeil—a popular genre at a time when artists excelled in illusory effects. It is typical of a trompe l’oeil that the subject is shown against a flat surface with illusionist elements such as the piece of paper in the lower left-hand corner that you want pull off before you realize that it is part of the picture. This painting is far more fluent than previous trompe-l’oeil efforts by the artist, however. There is a copy in Drottningholm Palace, possibly painted by David von Krafft.

Kristoffer Arvidsson from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014