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The idea of painting large-scale decorative canvases full of exotic birds in a formal garden setting was invented in Holland by Melchior de Hondecoeter (1636-95, see for example 405354). Bogdani was born in Hungary and moved to Amsterdam in 1684, where Me

Birds have long been a source of artistic inspiration.

? Italian

Snuff box circa

RCIN 3779

This tiny box, just 5 cm wide, is decorated with a micromosaic depicting a dove perched on a branch. Miniscule tesserae (mosaic tiles), some square and others oblong, have been painstakingly laid to produce this composition. The smallest pieces, in a variety of shades, make up the bird’s feathers, their placement suggesting the direction of the plumage as well as the areas of shadow under the wing. A single oblong tessera has been used to indicate each of the dove’s feet. The figurative and the decorative harmonise as the geometric border echoes the small fruits or flowers on the branches surrounding the bird.