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Bird's Nest

William Henry Huntcirca 1850

The Frick Pittsburgh

The Frick Pittsburgh

Luminous, highly-detailed still lifes and nature studies such as this earned William Henry Hunt the moniker "Bird's Nest" Hunt. He achieved remarkable technical success painting in gouache and watercolor on a hard ground of Chinese white and gum arabic. Here this technique creates a richness of tone in the various greens of the leaves and grasses and browns of the soil. Hunt's refined and delicate touch has given the primrose leaves a soft, almost fuzzy appearance, and he has also carefully delineated the interior of the bird's nest with its layer of soft down. Influential British critic, philosopher, and writer John Ruskin believed Hunt to be one of the finest painters of still life, and took watercolor lessons from Hunt in the 1850s and 1860s.

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