Skip to main content
Birds, Butterflies and a Frog among Plants and Fungi
Melchior d'Hondecoeter
/

A frog, crouched in the foreground and glittering like a jewel, appears to be causing a stir. The male birds looking down at it seem angry or excited by its presence: they prowl, flutter their wings or glare, feathers ruffled. On a top branch is a chaffinch, fluffing out its plumage; its mate sits below, next to a tree sparrow. The bird closest to the frog, and about to attack, is probably a brambling, a kind of finch.

There was great interest in the natural sciences in seventeenth-century Holland. Many collectors prized pictures like this for their accuracy, displaying them alongside scientific instruments and specimens including stuffed birds and animals. Melchior d'Hondecoeter may well have drawn and sketched his creatures from such a collection; he may even have had one himself. Some collectors, however, bought works like his simply as exotic and dramatic additions to the decoration of their houses.

Key facts
Artist Melchior d'Hondecoeter
Artist dates 1636 - 1695
Full title Birds, Butterflies and a Frog among Plants and Fungi
Date made 1668
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 68.3 x 56.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by J. Whitworth Shaw, 1886
Inventory number NG1222
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo