1. Merle cendre, d'Amerique 2. Merle a cravate, de Cayenne
Alternative Title
1. Merle cendre, d'Amerique 2. Merle a cravate, de Cayenne. [Plate] 560
Martinet, François Nicolas, 1731- (Artist, Engraver)
Paris : L'Imprimerie Royal
Date created
[ca. 1770-1786]
Type of resource
Still image
Engravings (prints)
Digital origin
reformatted digital
François Nicolas Martinet (1725-1804), a French artist living during the late Enlightenment Era, blends science with art in his numerous works. His passion for ornithology led him to collaborate with several notable natural historians, including Georges-Louis Leclerc, Count of Buffon. Martinet created a total of one thousand eight prints for Buffon's extensive Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, from which the plates in this collection derive. Depicting birds in their natural habitats, the plates began as copperplate engravings and later received color from an unknown colorist, possibly Martinet himself. These avian prints emphasize scientific accuracy and natural beauty.
Martinet juxtaposes two birds in his print 1. Merle cendre, d'Amerique 2. Merle a cravate, de Cayenne. Published between 1770 and 1786 as plate five hundred sixty for Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, the print, like roughly one-fifth of Martinet's plates, portrays more than one bird. The description of figure one translates to an American blackbird, though its common name is instead the Red-legged thrush; Buffon labeled figure two the Cravated blackbird of Cayenne, though its common name is the Ferruginous-backed Antbird. Martinet infuses the piece with naturalism by placing the birds atop a branch indicative of their habitats, and rendering both specimen in lifelike poses. The paralleled forms of the birds, though mirrored, create a dynamic composition. Extensive hatching creates palpable texture and believable form. A watercolor finish enhances the values and vibrancy of stunning Martinet's naturalist study.
Related item
Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux
Avian Life Prints
Subjects and keywords
Merle cendre, d'Amerique
Merle a cravate, de Cayenne
Turdus plumbeus
Myrmeciza ferruginea
American blackbird
Cravated blackbird of Cayenne
Permanent URL
Northeastern University Library
Use and reproduction
No Copyright. The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information. http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/


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