Today I was watching an art documentary … you know, as I like to do.
During said passive education I was presented with a painting, a collaboration no less, between Jan Brueghel the Elder and Peter Paul Rubens : specifically, ‘Hearing‘ (1617-18) in their ‘The Five Senses‘ series.
Look a bit closer at this little birdie …
Unless I’m very much mistaken, and I absorbed nothing from my Grandma’s copy of ‘Complete Book of Australian Birds‘, that is a sulfur-crested cockatoo. This raucous little feathered fellow is native to Australia and New Guinea.
So … this was painted in 1617-18.
Mmm … time for me to check my history.
The Dutch apparently were visiting Australia’s coast line (north-west) from 1606 – though most of these visits seem to have been accidents of incorrect navigation and quite a proportion perished.
It seems more likely that perhaps the bird was brought back instead from New Guinea – considering the Portuguese and Spanish were gadding about there from the mid 1500s.
Or perhaps they were traded by Indonesians in touch with New Guinea, who in turn were trading with the Dutch and others.
Oh. I was hoping for a strange story.
This isn’t strange but actually quite reasonable.
Best you go about your day.