Johan Maurits, governor of the Dutch colony in Brazil and owner of the Mauritshuis, took several artists with him to South America, to record the people, the flora and fauna, and the landscape. Eckhout was one of these artists. He painted the two tortoises with their scaly heads and geometrically-patterned shells in great detail. The animals are facing one another aggressively, ready to fight.


  • Title: Study of Two Brazilian Tortoises
  • Creator: Eckhout, Albert
  • Date Created: c. 1640
  • Physical Dimensions: h30.5 cm x w51 cm
  • Provenance: Probably Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen; Jacques Goudstikker Gallery, Amsterdam (purchase and supposed sale in 1936; cat. 1936-1937, no. 42, as by Anonymous Master; Goudstikker number 3036, inventory of 1936); J.C.H. Heldring, Oosterbeek, 1942-1963 (probably purchased before 10 May 1940; cat. 1955, pp. 32-33, no. 18, as by Anonymous; sale London, Sotheby’s, 27 March 1963, lot 1); Edward Speelman Gallery, London, 1963 (bought at auction for S. Nijstad who worked in commission of the Mauritshuis); purchased by the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, 1963; on long-term loan from the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, since 1963
  • Type: painting; tempera;gouache
  • Medium: paper on panel


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