'Cockatoo perched in Renaissance painting forces rethink of history'

To: "David McDonald (personal)" <>, CanberraBirds <>
Subject: 'Cockatoo perched in Renaissance painting forces rethink of history'
From: Robin Hide <>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 08:56:55 +0000
the published article is:
Dalton, Heather. (2013). “A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in fifteenth-century Mantua: rethinking symbols of sanctity and patterns of trade.” Renaissance Studies.( Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue).
Abstract: The earliest image of an Australasian parrot by a European artist predates the arrival of Vasco de Gama's fleet at Calicut on the Malabar Coast in 1498. This article focuses on that image – a small but significant detail in Andrea Mantegna's Madonna della Vittoria, completed in Mantua in 1496. Although Mantegna's altarpiece has been the subject of attention in modern scholarship, the significance of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has not been explored. In this article, I consider why Mantegna would have included parrots in his altarpiece and the symbolic significance of the cockatoo's position in the composition. I also explore the intriguing issue of how a creature native to regions generally considered to have been beyond Europe's trading reach in 1496 could have appeared in a Renaissance artwork. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in the Madonna della Vittoria provides a unique opportunity to place fifteenth-century Italy in its global context. Its presence not only confirms the interests and purchasing power of Mantegna and his patrons, the Gonzagas, it reveals the complexity and range of South-East Asian trading networks prior to the establishment of European trading posts in the region.
And in a similar vein, another recent paper about a bird from our northern neighbour……
Marcaida, J. R. (2014). “Rubens and the bird of paradise. Painting natural knowledge in the early seventeenth century.” Renaissance Studies 28 (1): 112–127).
Abstract: This paper explores the interconnections between early modern natural history and European visual culture by focusing on the representation of a single motif, the bird of paradise, in one of Peter Paul Rubens's most celebrated paintings: the Adoration of the Magi (1609; 1628–29), now in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. Portrayed as an aigrette in the Black Magus's headwear, the bird of paradise is interpreted as a symbol of exoticism and geographical diversity, in a painting of unmistakable Counter-Reformist facture, produced in a context of tense religious and political disputes and conflicting commercial interests. By considering the representation of this motif in the Prado Adoration as well as in other works by Rubens and his contemporaries, this paper studies the contribution of artists and paintings to the dissemination of natural knowledge, and examines early modern visual culture as part of a wider context shaped by religiosity, political interests, the cult of the exotic and global trade.
Robin Hide
-----Original Message-----
From: David McDonald (personal)
Sent: Tuesday, 13 May 2014 6:18 PM
To: CanberraBirds
Subject: 'Cockatoo perched in Renaissance painting forces rethink of history'
Forgive me if this is something that everyone but me already knows
about: 'Cockatoo perched in Renaissance painting forces rethink of history. Discovery of an animal more closely associated with Sydney than Venice is leading to a revision of early trading networks'
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