Hummingbird and passion flowers | Martin Johnson Heade | Art Print | Tropical Forest
In 1863, the renowned landscape and still-life artist Martin Johnson Heade embarked on a journey to South America, inspired by the achievements of fellow artist Frederic Edwin Church and the work of artist-ornithologists John James Audubon and John Gould. During this time, an article in the Boston Transcript declared, "He intends to capture the most vibrant and exquisite members of the hummingbird family in Brazil, a subject he is deeply passionate about. He is fulfilling a childhood dream." (quoted in J.L. Comey, “The Gems of Brazil,” Martin Johnson Heade, Boston, Massachusetts, 1999, p. 71).
Heade's fascination with tropical flora and fauna led him to dedicate his time to studying and painting hummingbirds in Brazil from 1863 to 1865. He also made subsequent trips to Nicaragua in 1866 and Colombia, Panama, and Jamaica in 1870.
Heade's early interest in the enchanting hummingbird had a profound impact on his artistic career, motivating him to study the species meticulously to capture its miniature magnificence. As stated by R.C. McIntyre in "Martin Johnson Heade" (New York, 1948, p. 12), "The beauty and incredible speed of this tiny, brilliant 'flower of the air' left such a lasting impression on him that it sparked a strong urge to explore its habits and immortalize its fleeting beauty and exquisite iridescence on canvas."
What makes Heade's hummingbird paintings extraordinary is their blend of scientific precision and artistic creativity, which beautifully captures the natural beauty of these distant lands.
The painting highlights the foreground scene, framed by tree branches as repoussoir elements, with bright bird colors and red passion flowers in the foreground. The lush greens of the forest and the misty gray of the atmospheric perspective create a vivid sense of the vibrancy and fertility of the natural environment.
Unlike his predecessors Audubon and Gould, who leaned toward scientific accuracy, Heade's work captures the nineteenth-century fascination with cataloging the natural world along with the Victorian appreciation of nature's transcendental power. As described by T.E. Stebbins, Jr. (in "Martin Johnson Heade," Boston, Massachusetts, 1999, p. 9), Heade was a romantic masquerading as a realist in all of his mature works. While he observed hummingbirds, orchids, and passionflowers with the eye of a naturalist, his paintings are more about memory and imagination than mere observation, reflecting the richness of the painter's creative vision.
Artist: Martin Johnson Heade
Museum-quality poster made on thick and long-lasting matte (uncoated) paper.
Paper weight: 200 gsm / 80 lb
Available in a variety of sizes to suit your preferences.
Please note that frames are not included with the purchase of the print. They are shown for display purposes only.
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