Hondecoeter specialised in painting poultry. Here, the birds are startled by a barking dog, which appears from the left. A colourful cockerel struts off haughtily, the white duck protects her chicks and a pigeon flies off in haste.
This painting belongs with the painting of geese and ducks that is also hanging here. They come from the collection of the Orange-Nassau family, and were hung in Oranienstein Castle in Diez, Germany, in the eighteenth century.
Melchior d' Hondecoeter (Utrecht 1636 - 1695 Amsterdam)
Chickens and Ducks
115 x 136 cm
lower centre: M D'Hondecoeter
Princess Henriette Catharina; Oranienstein Palace, Diez, 1726; by inheritance to Prince William V, The Hague, 1776-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum Central des Arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822