One of the artists in Johan Maurits’s entourage was Albert Eckhout. Eckhout recorded the Brazilian people, flora and fauna in drawings and paintings. Like these two red-footed tortoises with their scaly heads, shells with geometric patterns and mouths full of sharp teeth. Eckhout painted them on paper.
The animals are grunting threateningly at each other, as the males do during the breeding season. But Eckhout made the animals more exciting than they actually are – tortoises do not in fact have teeth.
Albert Eckhout (Groningen c. 1610 - 1666 Groningen)
Study of Two Brazilian Tortoises
On view in
Material and technical details
paper on panel
51 x 30.5 cm
Probably Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen; Jacques Goudstikker Gallery, Amsterdam (purchase and supposed sale in 1936; cat. 1936-1937, no. 42, as by Anonymous Master; Goudstikker number 3036, inventory of 1936); J.C.H. Heldring, Oosterbeek, 1942-1963 (probably purchased before 10 May 1940; cat. 1955, pp. 32-33, no. 18, as by Anonymous; sale London, Sotheby’s, 27 March 1963, lot 1); Edward Speelman Gallery, London, 1963 (bought at auction for S. Nijstad who worked in commission of the Mauritshuis); purchased by the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, 1963; on long-term loan from the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, since 1963