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Two Brazilian Tortoises - Albert Eckhout - Framed Picture 16" x 20"


Albert Eckhout was a Dutch portrait and still life painter.

Eckhout, was among the first European artists to paint scenes from the New World. In 1636 he traveled to Dutch Brazil, where he stayed until 1644, invited by count John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen. There, he painted portraits of the natives, slaves and mulattos of Brazil in the seventeenth century, besides numerous sketches of plants and animals.

Eckhout is also famous for his still-life paintings of Brazilian fruits and vegetables.

He was in the entourage of Dutch governor-general of Brazil Johan Maurits, Prince of Nassau-Siegen, who took him and fellow painter Frans Post to Dutch Brazil to have them record the country's landscape, inhabitants, flora and fauna. Eckhout focused on the people, plants and animals of the region. He painted eight life-size ethnographic representations of Brazil's inhabitants, twelve still lifes and a large piece of dancing natives.

These ethnographic works, done between 1641 and 1643 for Maurits, were subsequently gifted to Maurits's cousin, King Frederick III of Denmark, and they remain in Copenhagen. Alexander von Humboldt saw the paintings in 1827, as Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II in 1876, both of whom praised them enthusiastically.

His work is said to give the first realistic image of the native population, part of the Tupi and Tapuia tribes. One of his famous works is of a calmly composed Tupian woman, who holds a human hand and has a human leg in her basket, an example of cannibalism. The Tapuya dance, performed by eight Tapuia Indians with their characteristic mushroom hair style, cudgels and spears, deals with the preparation for the confrontation with the enemy. This picture was much more in accordance with the mental image of the natives back in Europe.

Minor planet 11241 Eckhout is named for him.

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