Dragonfly, Pear, Carnation, and Insect

Object Details

Title:

Dragonfly, Pear, Carnation, and Insect

Artist/Maker(s):

Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600)

and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575)

Culture:

Flemish and Hungarian

Place(s):

Vienna, Austria (Place created)

Date:

1561 - 1562; illumination added 1591 - 1596

Medium:

Watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 16.6 x 12.4 cm (6 9/16 x 4 7/8 in.)

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By contrasting the geometric symmetry of the dragonfly laid out in the center of the page with the more curvilinear, asymmetrical shapes of the pear and carnation below, Joris Hoefnagel created a sense of balance in this illumination. From the diaphanous quality of its intricately patterned wings to the textures of its hard, glossy body and delicate, feathery legs, he based the dragonfly's form on careful observation of nature. While the dragonfly appears to be laid out like a stiff scientific specimen, Hoefnagel imbued the imaginary insect on the right with life and movement as it gently alights on the carnation. The pear, with its fuzzy skin suggested by the use of tiny brushstrokes, casts a shadow, creating the illusion of a real pear placed on the page.

Related Works
Exhibitions
Art and Science: Joris Hoefnagel and the Representation of Nature in the Renaissance (November 3, 1992 to January 17, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), November 3, 1992 to January 17, 1993
Art and Science: Joris Hoefnagel and the Representation of Nature in the Renaissance (October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000
Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 1

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students define the genre and practice watercolor technique.

Visual Arts

9-12

Two-Part Lesson

Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 2

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students create a still-life painting in watercolor from direct observation.

Visual Arts

9-12

Two-Part Lesson

Still-Life Painting: Arranging Nature–Lesson 3

This lesson plan explores still-life painting. Students paint a still life in an opaque medium and write an artist's statement.

Visual Arts

9-12

Two-Part Lesson

Flora and Fauna as Figures of Speech

Students create create a work of art that illustrates a figurative saying with a drawing of flora and/or fauna, and text written in ornate script.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

3-5

Three/Five-Part Lesson