Mercantile ships brought tropical birds from around the world, as well as lions, tigers, monkeys and even elephants. Once on the European continent, these animals might be kept in the stables of the Dutch East India Company or in the menageries of wealthy burghers. Exotic animals were a popular attraction at annual markets and fairs. Armed with pen and paper, artists would visit these events to see rare animals for themselves and to sketch them from life.
The Wunderkammer made these beautiful drawings come to life with a wonderful collection of taxidermy species of the big fowl family from collector Wolfgang Vandrey, among other objects. The entire Cromhouthuis provides the decor for the Wild exhibition.
Animals at ARTIS
In 1838, 180 years ago, a society was founded in Amsterdam adopting the motto Natura Artis Magistra: Nature as mentor to the arts and sciences. Like the fairs of the seventeenth century, Artis Park offered artists a chance to learn to draw animals. The exhibition features several drawings of animals that can be found in ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo.
Wild! Drawing from Life is on view from Saturday 21 April to 26 August 2018 at Cromhout House in the centre of Amsterdam. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of activities which include drawing lessons on Friday afternoons, lectures on drawing and animals and afternoon tea: a stimulating guided tour rounded off with a delicious selection of refreshments.
Open Tuesday – Sunday from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm
Pictures by Monique Vermeulen