Feb 14, 2022
Feb 14, 2022

Studies of Insects

Studies of Insects

c. 1665–1727

Johannes Bronckhorst

(Netherlands, 1648–1727)

Watercolor, opaque watercolor, and gum arabic with brown ink framing lines

Sheet: 20.7 x 31.4 cm (8 1/8 x 12 3/8 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 2022.9


Did you know?

With an extremely fine brush, the artist used a magnifying glass to draw the minute details of these insects, using watercolor and opaque watercolor, and gum arabic to create sheen.


In the 17th century, an interest in flora and fauna, both local and exotic, in the Netherlands led to vast collections of insects, plants, and animals among academics and amateurs. Artists such as Johannes Bronckhorst became specialists at recording these collections in paint, to be kept in portfolios and shown to visitors. The grouping of insects on this sheet suggest that Bronckhorst had access to a varied collection, and include a cicada, a cereal-leaf beetle, a harlequin ladybird, a spiny orb-weaver spider, two Asian longhorn beetles, a red rhinoceros beetle, a rosemary beetle, and a stick insect. With great attention to detail, Bronckhorst may have selected this particular assembly with no other intent than to create a balanced and colorful composition.

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