A bird of filth and splendour

A while ago I wrote an article about the occurrence of several bird species in the Netherlands during the 18th century. (Here!) Among those bird species was the hoopoe (Upupa epops). Whilst seeking for 18th century images of the hoopoe, I also encountered much older depictions dating from the Medieval period.
I noticed that birds were depicted in an odd fashion. Details were left out and even the bird’s most prominent feature, its crest of feathers, was sometimes omitted. I’m fortunate that the hoopoe’s beauty was restored by 17th and 18th century naturalist painters. But, how did we get there? How did depictions of the hoopoe changed throughout the course of time? And above all, what factors are to be held responsible for these changes? In this article several depictions of the hoopoe will be shown and changes in the appearance and identity of the bird will be examined.

Link to article:
A bird of filth and splendour
Changes in the appearance and identity of the hoopoe throughout the history of art


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