Rijksmuseum to reveal a truly sensational discovery of Brazilian animal drawings by Frans Post

Dutch landscape artist’s notes describe six-banded armadillo as “good to eat, tastes like a chicken”

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is due to unveil 34 unknown drawings of Brazilian animals by the Dutch landscape artist Frans Post, providing a fascinating insight into the fauna of the New World in the 1630s. They were kept in an album dated 1667, which was donated in 1888 to the Noord-Hollands Archive in Haarlem. For centuries their importance had gone unrecognised, until the current archivist, Alexander de Bruin, was preparing an inventory. Intrigued by the quality of the works, he set out to investigate. (more…)

Spectacular discovery of drawings by Frans Post: For centuries unrecognized

In the Noord-Hollands Archief, Haarlem, thirty-four completely unknown drawings by Frans Post (1612-1680) have been discovered. The 17th-century artist from Haarlem — who worked in Brazil between 1637 and 1644 in the entourage of Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, governor-general of the Dutch colony there — is famous for the paintings of Brazilian landscapes that he produced after his return to the Netherlands. That the native flora and fauna depicted in these paintings must have been based on original drawings made in Brazil was always suspected. Until now, however, not a single animal or plant study from his hand was known.

Alexander de Bruin, curator of the image collection of the Noord-Hollands Archief, stumbled, to his utter amazement, upon the unrecognized studies — which include a white-lipped peccary, Brazilian porcupine, nine-banded armadillo, capybara, jaguar, and white-eared opossum — by accident in the course of a digitization project. The story of his sensational discovery has just been published in the September issue of the international journal Master Drawings.