(b. ca. 1660, Eperjes, d. 1724, London)

Still-life with Birds

Oil on canvas, 98 x 128,5 cm
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest

It was probably in Vienna that Jakab Bogdány, the son of a Protestant family in the town of Eperjes, began his studies; later, between 1684 and 1688, he worked in Amsterdam, which was then the centre of the bourgeois genres, most notably of still-life painting. For the young painter, the Dutch influence proved decisive on several account: it can be detected in his still-lifes with flowers and fruits in the use of colours, while the genre-like composition of his paintings depicting birds reveals the assimilation of Melchior de Hondecoeter's paintings of animals. Elegant parks with beautiful birds are the sites of Bogdány's high society genre scenes. The exquisite components, such as fountains or antique ruins, enhance the grace and refinement of the composition. The painter obeyed the taste of his commissioners and made their paintings to fit into their surroundings. Bogdány, who moved to England in 1688 and worked for the royal family and for the members of the English aristocracy, died as an esteemed artist.

He studied the main attractions of his compositions, the exotic birds from the colonies, in the then very fashionable birds' houses; their precise depiction can also be seen in the painting "Still-life with Birds" from the 1710s. Bogdány's paintings are still kept in their original surrounding, in English mansions and in the summer resorts of the Royal Family.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 14 minutes):
Ottorino Respighi: Birds, suite