Description These animals gathered by Noah's family to take on the ark in the distance reflect both the amazing variety of nature and man's dominion over nature. The majority were considered exotic by 17th-century Europeans: for example, parrots, the rare purple gallinule, and turkeys from the New World, African ostriches and porcupines with their incredibly long quills raised in defense, as well as lions and leopards. The painting could be enjoyed like a visit to the menagerie kept by the archdukes Albert and Isabella at the court in Brussels, surely the source for these animals. The handsome dapple-gray horse at the center is a Spanish breed imported by Archduke Albert. This subject was painted earlier by both Jan Bruegel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger. Here, the groupings of animals are distinct, encouraging viewers to study them separately. This is characteristic of animal paintings by Jan van Kessel, nephew of Jan Brueghel the Younger.
- World of Wonder. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1971-1972.
- Salute to Belgium. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1980.
- A Renaissance Puzzle: Heemskerck's Abduction of Helen. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1993.
- Highlights from the Collection. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1998-2001.
- A Magnificent Age: Masterpieces from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2002-2004.
Provenance Samuel Borchard, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Stewart Borchard, New York [Samuel's son]; Kleinberger Galleires, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Museum of Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; E.& A. Silberman Galleries, NY, 1946; Walters Art Museum, 1946, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, 1946
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