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Johannes Spruyt, Geese and Ducks

Key facts
Full title Geese and Ducks
Artist Johannes Spruyt
Artist dates 1627/8 - 1671
Date made probably about 1660
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 119.5 × 155.5 cm
Acquisition credit Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number NG1013
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Geese and Ducks
Johannes Spruyt

Johannes Spruyt has placed his handsome water birds against a stormy sky. Wind disturbs the grass and stunted trees behind them – perhaps to emphasise that, although these are farm animals, they are healthy specimens, hardy and resilient against the weather.

The white goose beats its wings and hisses at the tiny ducklings. They seem to sail on, curious but undisturbed, but their father turns, alert and ready to protect them. Overhead, a second goose dives down towards a third.

Spruyt gave his birds life and movement and has observed their habits and behaviour, but the colours and details of texture – feathers, beaks, eyes – may be dimmed by coats of old varnish.

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