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Kangaroo from New Holland

Painting, 1772, 60×71 cm

Description of the artwork «Kangaroo from New Holland»

"Kangaroo from New Holland" Stubbs wrote in 1772 along with "Portrait of a large dog (Dingo)" by order of Joseph banks. Not lovers of animalistic painting a portrait of the animal may seem a little amusing: just a kangaroo, and small imperfections. But nevertheless, the picture is not only artistic and historical value. In her story lies a whole body of academic discoveries of international relations and just adventure.

Sir Joseph banks was a member of the first ship navigation of the British, exclusively devoted to geographical discoveries. It is a famous journey by captain James cook in the Pacific, which took place in 1768-1771. Banks was one of the key figures in the development of European natural science, naturalist and botanist, patron of science and art. Within two years Stubbs wrote to him these two pictures. In the court of British public paintings have been represented in 1773 in the Royal Academy. It was here that the British first managed to see and experience such exotic animals as kangaroos from New Holland is Australia's first name that gave her the Dutch navigators in the early seventeenth century

It's funny that he Stubbs had never seen a kangaroo, and when working on a portrait focused on the description of those who are fortunate enough to live to see marsupials. He gave the skin and skull of dead animal, and he, as a professional master of anatomy did a great job "remotely", not counting the minor bugs (for example, the wrong ears). Now the pioneers of a kangaroo for the European world considered three people: James cook, Joseph banks and George Stubbs.

"Kangaroo from New Holland" has a whole history of the struggle for the possession of which occurred in our time. All the time the picture was kept in the descendants of the wives of the banks. But in 2012 the Minister of culture of England ed Wasi learned about the upcoming sale of portraits of kangaroos and dingoes at auction for 9.3 million Australian dollars to an anonymous buyer, announced a temporary ban on the export of paintings. Painting was a national treasure, and the British authorities did not plan to say goodbye to such a valuable specimen. This gave the opportunity to the broadcaster and zoologist David Attenborough (David Attenborough) to start a campaign to collect money to "Save our Stubbs".

Money is not enough, and the picture was going to buy the national gallery of Australia. The deadline of the ban came to an end when, in November 2013 there was an unprecedented luck. The family Foundation of Eyal ofer (Israeli shipping magnate and billionaire) donated to the training camp of 1.5 million pounds. This exceeded the amount proposed by the Australians, and gave the opportunity to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to buy two portraits. The businessman explained his action by the fact that the pictures are of direct relevance to British navigation, and therefore they belong to the Maritime Museum.

A Kangaroo painted by George Stubbs is of great importance not only for art in the UK, and Australia. Sir Ron Radford Director National gallery of Australia, expressing the desire to acquire portraits of animals in 2013 said that this kangaroo more than 50 years served as a model for many artists who had no idea what he looks like really. Hero of the picture spread through engravings, and later the work became one of the illustrations in the book about cook's first voyage to the Pacific ocean.

There is a perception that kangaroos have become the symbol of Australia thanks to Stubbs, as well as the fact that the animal can not move backwards (actually he can, just do it rarely), so it is a symbol of progress. Besides a kangaroo on the first coat of arms of New Holland is depicted on the basis of a portrait of the British painter of animals.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Landscape, Animalism

Style of art: Romanticism

Technique: Oil

Date of creation: 1772

Size: 60×71 cm

Artwork in selections: 5 selections