Inventory number
P07346
Author
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Title
Magpie in a Tree
Chronology
1786
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
279 cm x 28 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
Animals
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection: Real Fábrica de Tapices de Santa Bárbara, Madrid; Royal Palace, Madrid, “sótanos del oficio de tapicería”, 1856-1857; Prado Museum, 1870 (R. O. 18.1.1870 / R. O. 9.2.1870)

This cartoon was for one of the tapestries to be hung in the Prince of Asturias' dining room at the El Pardo Palace. Its narrow, elongated format indicates it was intended to be hung in a corner. It is probably inspired by a Chinese screen, which were very fashionable in the eighteenth century. The screen's representation of exotic birds on tree branches is replaced here by a magpie and other small birds belonging to Spain's fauna.

The painter situates the birds on different planes in order to create a sense of depth that complements the high, narrow format. At the same time, he expresses the birds' flight and the magpie's equilibrium on the tree branch with vivid realism.

 
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