Saturday Art: Jean-Baptiste Oudry

Henri, Camille, Chevalier de Berengen by Oudry

Henri Camille, Chevalier de Berenghen by Oudry

Misse and Latine by Oudry

Misse and Latine by Oudry

A painter known best for his portrayal of animals, Oudry studied and showed expertise from an early age and began as a portrait artist.   He showed mastery in art featuring animals and attracted interest from members of the court of Louis XV and support that gave him a solid profession in a comfortable life.

Through his friend, Jean-Baptiste Massé, a portrait-painter and miniaturist, Oudry was introduced to the Marquis de Beringhen, hereditary master of the royal stables,[3] for whom he painted a pair of paintings in 1727,[4] followed by a suite of landscapes in the Flemish manner. Through this connection, he was commissioned to produce the painting that made his reputation, Louis XV hunting a deer in the Forest of Saint-Germain (1730; now at Toulouse). Subsequently he was commissioned to produce numerous works for the King, who was passionate about the hunt and appointed Oudry Painter-in-Ordinary of the Royal Hunt,[5] in which capacity he produced portraits of dead game, the day’s kill. Oudry was granted a workshop in the Tuileries and an apartment in the Louvre.

M. Hultz, an adviser to the Académie de Peinture, commissioned Oudry to produce a buffet, or still-life combining silver plates and ewers, fruit and game; the work was exhibited in the Salon of 1737. Oudry timidly asked for tenpistoles for his work, but Hultz valued it much higher, insisting on paying twenty-five. Oudry was also commissioned to produce a buffet for Louis XV (exhibited in the Salon of 1743), that went to the château de Choisy, the King’s favoured hunting residence.


Although Oudry produced excellent scenes of animals and of hunting, he also painted portraits, histories, landscapes, fruits and flowers; he imitated bas reliefs in monotone tints en camaïeu, used pastels, and created etchings. He was often sent examples of rare birds to draw.

An important patron was Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who commissioned two pairs of paintings from Oudry: Three Does Watching Two Stags Fighting and A Family of Roe Deer; and A Boar Hunt and A Wolf Hunt, both delivered in 1734.[8] He later purchased a series of large paintings of animals from Louis XV’s menagerie at Versailles. Oudry’s initial motive for painting these works is obscure. When exhibited at the Paris Salon, they had been described as having been painted for the French king; however the commission seems to come through the king’s surgeon, François Gigot de la Peyronie, who had engravings made after them,[9] and in a letter to Christian dated March 1750, Oudry wrote that they had become available for sale due to de La Peyronie’s death. In addition to the portraits of the animals from the royal menagerie, Christian also bought Oudry’s life-size painting of “Clara“, an Indian rhinoceros which had been exhibited all around Europe to great public interest.[10] The works are still at Schwerin.

Oudry turned down offers from other regents and maintained himself well in his native country of France, with a niche that still puts him among the best known animal painters.

(Picture courtesy of  Staatliches Museum Schwerin at wikimedia commons.)

Rhinozeros Clara by Oudry

Rhinozeros Clara by Oudry

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Ruth Calvo

Ruth Calvo

I've blogged at The Seminal for about two years, was at cabdrollery for around three. I live in N.TX., worked for Sen.Yarborough of TX after graduation from Wellesley, went on to receive award in playwriting, served on MD Arts Council after award, then managed a few campaigns in MD and served as assistant to a member of the MD House for several years, have worked in legal offices and written for magazines, now am retired but addicted to politics, and join gladly in promoting liberals and liberal policies.


  1. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Morning, hope you are having outdoor weather, but indoor activity when my kids were little sometimes included our own ‘animal tour of the National Galleries of Art’, and the top two paintings were high on that list of sightings.

  2. Canyon2
    May 23, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Good morning Ruth.
    Thank you for the post.
    You never cease to amaze me with your multi interests and talent.

  3. stuckinlodi no more
    May 23, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Very nice!

  4. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:41 am

    As a teacher, you well know how you cast about for things to intrigue kids, this was one way. It’s what we do.

  5. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

    thanks, have a few kinds of pets, don’t we?

  6. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Must go tend to the garden after last night’s frost. spud has already been out tending to it since 5.

  7. ms kitty
    May 23, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Today he could be the official Facebook painter of kittens.

  8. Beverly Lawson
    May 23, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Good Luck , Missing my usual Sat. work, so can join you…a bit late. Thanks Ruth. Hope the garden has not been harmed.

  9. May 23, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Good morning, all.

    Nice collection! And how fortunate were your kids to have the national galleries available and a Mom who indulged in them that way.

  10. starrynight
    May 23, 2015 at 10:15 am

    your still getting frost. how unusual is that

  11. Shutter
    May 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Whenever I go to the museum, I’m usually elbowed out of the way by people taking pictures with their cellphones of the paintings and then they quickly hustle on to the next painting. Do they pause and actually, you know, LOOK at the painting with their very eyeballs? No, not so much. They’ve got a camera!

    Now I know why. Its an interweb thing 🙂

  12. May 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    The same with vacationers. Ask them what they saw and they turn on their cell phones to show you. Otherwise, they haven’t a clue!

  13. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Very. The winter has been severe and hanging on here, and more so farther north. A friend in Halifax has been snowed in since about November, still not free of the snow.

  14. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Probably would pitch right in.

  15. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    They enjoyed a lot of treasures in the D.C. area, the many Smithsonian collections open free to the public were wonderful.

  16. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Never have used a cellphone for camera work, but yes, I do take pictures of some of the pictures. There’s never been anyone crowding to see the paintings I visited, but perhaps you’ve been to the Louvre and tried to get to the Mona Lisa, that is hard and takes patience. Now with cellphones, it might be more of a challenge.

  17. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Some are well aware of their good fortune, try asking some one back from the Maya temples and digs!

  18. Ruth
    May 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    There was a little burn to a grape tomato and to one of the three zucchini plants, but most were unscathed. Of course, tomatoes are a vine, so taking off the burned leaves just puts energies into the upward growth, and is good.