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    A collection of 34 animal drawings and paintings by Frans Post (1612-1680), which lay unknown in a Haarlem archive for over three centuries only to be rediscovered in 2010, is on display at the National Gallery of Ireland until December 9. Curious Creatures – Frans Post & Brazil, exhibits drawings in a range of materials such as pen and ink; watercolour; gouache and graphite. It includes representations of the Six-Banded (Yellow) Armadillo, the South-American Tapir, the Jaguar, the Cayman (a reptile similar to an alligator), the Brazilian Porcupine and the Spider Monkey. Also included in the exhibition are Post’s outstanding oil painting View of Olinda, Brazil, 1662 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam); a drawing of a sugar mill (Atlas Van Stolk, Rotterdam); and the Gallery’s own Brazilian Landscape with Sugar Mill, 1660s. These works provide an insight into how the artist both engaged with and immortalised the so-called ‘New World’ for a curious European audience.

    Post spent seven years in Brazil, from 1637-44, charged with documenting the landscape for Johan Maurits (1604-1679), Governor-General of the new Dutch colony. On his return to the Netherlands in 1644, Post painted Brazilian-inspired landscapes featuring a wealth of exotic creatures. Scholars of the artist long suspected that he used observational sketches of wildlife for his paintings, but until De Bruin’s discovery, no actual drawings of native fauna by Post were known.

    A special loan of zoological specimens from the National Museum of Ireland – Natural History will complement the display.

    Frans Post (1612-1680)
    LIZARD Watercolour and gouache, with pen and black ink, over graphite 16 x 21 cm Courtesy Noord-Hollands Archief, Haarlem

    Frans Post (1612-1680)
    JAGUAR Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) Watercolour and gouache in shades of yellow, brown, and black, with pen and black ink, over Graphite
    Courtesy Noord-Hollands Archief, Haarlem

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