Dutch Aert Schouman’s eighteenth century bird, orangutan paintings


Sunbittern and secretary bird, 24 June 2017

As I wrote in another blog post, on 24 June 2017 we were at the exhibition in the Dordrechts Museum in Dordrecht, the Netherlands of art by Aert Schouman (1710-1792). Founded in 1842, with that exhibition the museum celebrates its 175 years of age. Much of the paintings depict birds; like this African secretary bird on the right, and American sunbittern on the left. I saw beautiful sunbitterns in Costa Rica.

The photos in this blog post are cellphone photos.

Barn swallow and strawberry plant by Schouman

This is another one of Schouman’s many bird pictures at the exhibition: a barn swallow at a strawberry plant.

Orangutan, 24 June 2017

Schouman did not only paint birds. He also depicted this orangutan; featuring a golden pheasant and antelopes.

That ape was the first orangutan who ever went from Borneo to Europe, in 1776. To Prince William V’s private zoo, at the Kleine Loo estate near Voorburg town. Prince William’s servants had no idea how to care for the young female ape. They tried to feed the vegetarian meat. However, as the painting shows, the orangutan preferred apples.

Orangutan detail, 24 June 2017

The fruit turned out to be not enough for the primate to survive a Dutch winter. She died in January 1777, a few months after her arrival.

Southern bald ibis, 24 June 2017

Another animal which Schouman depicted for Prince William V was the southern bald ibis from southern Africa. The photo shows this bird species, copied by Simon Fokke from a big Schouman painting.

With this copy, we have arrived at the subject of the last part of the Schouman exhibition: his influence on other Dutch artists, especially in depicting birds.

Eclectus parrot, 24 June 2017

For instance, this 1767 painting by Gerrit van den Heuvel of a female eclectus parrot shows Schouman’s influence.

Dog and mallard, 24 June 2017

So does this painting of a dog disturbing a flying mallard, a grey heron and mute swans.

Whydahs and parrot, 24 June 2017

And this one, of two African birds: pin-tailed whydah on the left and queen whydah on the right. And below them, a Philippine hanging parrot.

Duck and dog, 24 June 2017

There is much action in Schouman’s bird pictures. That is reflected in this painting by Wouter Uiterlinninge: a dog attacks a domestic duck. In panic while fleeing, the bird tramples her own eggs, damaging them.

Children's art, 24 June 2017

In the last hall of the Schouman exhibition, children can make their own art inspired by birds. In this photo, centre bottom, two flamingos: a pink one, presumably adult. And a white one, presumably young. A child has put a red heart on that bird. A house martin flies toward the flamingos.

Dutch Aert Schouman’s eighteenth century bird painting exhibited


This 2017 Dutch Dordrechts Museum video is about an exhibition of Aert Schouman’s (1710-1792) bird paintings.

On 24 June 2017, I went to that exhibition in Dordrecht of work by Aert Schouman. Schouman was born in, and worked in Dordrecht for much of his life. Seventeenth century Dutch D’Hondecoeter was an inspiration for Schouman’s art on birds.

Among his works are big oil paintings for the walls of Prince William V‘s palace in The Hague. Schouman did that work in 1788, when he was already 78 years old. Four years later, he died. Three more years later, in 1795, Prince William V fled from invading French revolutionary soldiers to England.

Now, these Schouman paintings are usually in Huis ten Bosch royal palace in The Hague. However, that palace is being reconstructed (which costs lots of taxpayers’ money). So, from now till September 2017, there is an opportunity to see them at an exhibition of Schouman’s work in the Dordrechts Museum in Dordrecht.

Biologists have helped with this exhibition as the birds depicted are from many countries and Schouman often did not know exactly which species he painted. He depicted the birds as he saw them in the aviaries of Prince William V and other rich people. Not in their natural environment, as later painters like John James Audubon would do. Schouman often depicted birds from different continents, which would never meet in the wild, together in the same tree in the same painting. Also, eg, Asian golden pheasants meeting European black grouse.

Nevertheless, Schouman’s bird depictions look full of life.

Schouman depicted not just birds. He was an all-round artist, also painting portraits, landscapes, mammals and more. He decorated fans and drinking glasses.

This is a 2015 Dordrechts Museum video about various sides of Schouman’s art.

In 1734, Schouman made his first depiction of birds, in a watercolour. He lived at a time when science about birds and other animals was progressing, with Linnaeus’ classification of the natural world, and Buffon‘s first steps toward an evolution theory. However, Schouman still depicted flying birds of paradise without feet, because of the misunderstanding then caused by exporting them feetless to Europe from distant hardly known New Guinea. In New Guinea, birds of paradise were used in headdresses, for which the feet were useless. For export, the feet were cut off as well. Though a century before Schouman, Jan Brueghel in a painting made jointly with Rubens, had already depicted a bird of paradise with feet; contrary to most seventeenth century artists and scientists. Later, Schouman’s contemporary Linnaeus still called a bird of paradise species Paradisea apoda, “footless paradise bird.” Nevertheless, in 1758 Schouman depicted a sitting bird of that species with feet.

Feetless bird of paradise flying, by Schouman

Schouman was not consistent on birds of paradise. In the top left painting in this picture, a feetless bird of paradise flies over an Asian silver pheasant and a South American cock-of-the-rock.

Only in the 19th century a European would see a, non-feetless, bird of paradise in the wild for the first time.

As we traveled to Dordrecht, we saw white storks from the train in meadows near Voorschoten.

Along the garden path to the museum entrance, cardboard cutouts of birds: a blue tit, a house sparrow, a toucan, a pelican. On the lawn, a living blackbird.

Dordrecht museum restaurant table, 24 June 2017

Bird figurines on the museum restaurant tables. Like all photos in this blog post, this is a cellphone photo.

Hooded crow and hoopoe, 24 June 2017

One of the first paintings near the entrance of the exhibition shows birds native to the Netherlands, at least in the eighteenth century. At the top of this work, a hooded crow (by now rare in the Netherlands; only in winter) flies. Below it, a hoopoe (no longer a breeding bird in the Netherlands).

Still further down, a male teal flying; and a bearded reedling couple sitting. Below, from left to right: an oystercatcher, a white-fronted goose, a smew, a shelduck, a moorhen and a mute swan.

Cassowary and pheasants, 24 May 2017

Next to it hung a painting of exotic birds, including southern cassowary, golden pheasant and silver pheasant. Also, a brown capuchin monkey.

Crowned pigeon, 24 June 2017

A bit further, this crowned pigeon, one of the world’s biggest pigeons, next to a smaller relative.

Southern crowned pigeon, 24 June 2017

Here, another picture of the same southern crowned pigeon species.

Southern crowned pigeon and pheasants, 24 June 2017

And here, that same crowned pigeon with its context of a silver pheasant couple and flying parrots.

Golden orioles, 24 June 2017

Next, an adult male golden oriole with its youngster in the nest.

There will be more on this blog about the Schouman exhibition. So, stay tuned!

Brussels against Trump, NATO militarism, conclusion


This 24 May 2017 AFP video says about itself:

Thousands protest against Trump in Brussels ahead of talks

Thousands of protesters carrying effigies of Donald Trump march through Brussels after the US president arrived for talks with the EU and NATO.

This 24 May 2017 video says about itself:

Thousands of protesters carrying effigies of Donald Trump have marched through Brussels after the US president arrived for talks with the EU and NATO. The demonstrators condemned Trump’s policies including his recent ratcheted-up anti-Iran rhetoric.

After my latest blog post on the big demonstration against Donald Trump and NATO militarism, now this blog post on the last part of the march.

Hart boven hard, 24 May 2017

The many flags proceeded. On this photo flags of the Belgian ‘Hart boven hard’ (Heart above hardness) anti-austerity movement. And, on the left, the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ branch of the leftist Belgian PVDA party. Between the PVDA flags, also on the left of the photo, the Greenpeace ‘Make peace great again’ banner. Not on the photo, but present, an anarchist flag.

There was a lively group of Redfox, the PVDA young people’s organisation, with their spoof ‘Donald Trump’ on his vehicle.

Pussyhats, on 24 May 2017

And, of course, more pussyhats.

Stock exchange, 24 May 2017

The demonstration arrived at the Brussels stock exchange building. It had been adorned with a banner with the slogan ‘Make peace great again’.

Stock exchange, on 24 May 2017

And with a well-known photo of an Afghan girl who had been mutilated. That photo had been abused for war propaganda, contrary to what had really happened to that girl. Here, it was in its proper context, a warning against the horrors of war.

Make peace great again, 24 May 2017

When people came closer, they could read the small print on the ‘Make peace great again’ banner. On top, five CND peace signs. At the bottom: Invest in peace. StopNATO2017.org. #Resist. Greenpeace.

Fight Trump banner, 24 May 2017

As the demonstration continued, it turned out that there were not just banners on the stock exchange building. People, eg, had hung banners like this one from their homes. It said: ‘Fight Trump and his billionaire friends. They have the money. We have the people.’

Brussels demonstration against Trump, 24 May 2017

Also, many people, at their windows and on their balconies, applauded and cheered for the demonstration.

Pussyhats, Brussels, 24 May 2017

The march continued. With, of course, yet more pussyhats.

Have a break, 24 May 2017

A sign said: ‘Have a break. Have a pussy riot‘. A parody of the commercial chocolate bar slogan: ‘Have a break. Have a KitKat’.

Another sign said: ‘Global warming Trump is a hoax‘.

Brussels trees, 24 May 2017

The trees showed us we were almost back at where the march had begun. One more slogan: ‘Change the system to save our planet‘.

We arrived back, at the square and pond near Brussels North railway station.

After the march was finished, Belgian band Jaune Toujours made music. I did not hear or see much of them, as our bus had to go back. So, just this video.

This short music video from Brussels is called Jaune Toujours live @ Trump not welcome… 24 May 2017.

There will be more about this demonstration on this blog, especially videos.

Brussels against Trump, NATO militarism, report continued


This Euronews video, recorded on 24 May 2017, says about itself:

Anti-Trump protest: thousands rally in Brussels

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Wednesday ahead of a NATO summit in the city.

In an earlier blog post, I mentioned that the big 24 May rally against Donald Trump and NATO militarism near the northern railway station in Brussels, Belgium, was over and the march of over 12,000 demonstrators through the city center had started, to the sound of a drum band.

NATO potato sign, 24 May 2017

As I mentioned, there was a demonstrator’s sign saying ‘You say NATO/I say potato/Let’s call the whole thing off’. A parody of a song by George and Ira Gershwin, from 1937: “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off“. Here it is on the photo.

Brussels against Trump, 24 May 2017

And on this photo, along with other anti-Trump signs.

Another sign said: ‘Trump, stay the hell out of our hole’; a reaction to Donald Trump calling Brussels a ‘hellhole’.

Invest in peace, 24 May 2017

Yet another sign said: ‘Invest in peace, not in war’. It was not far from a parody ‘Donald Trump’ and, again, pussyhats.

Pussyhats, 24 May 2017

Lots of pussyhats.

People shouted slogans, like ‘1,2, 3,4, we don’t want your fucking war! 5,6, 7,8, that is why we demonstrate!’ And: ‘The people united will never be divided’, derived from a famous Chilean song.

There were people in green t-shirts of the Christian trade union federation.

A sign said: ‘War Unite to save our planet’.

And another one: ‘Pro America. Anti Trump’.

Make the struggle great again, 24 May 2017

Various signs parodied Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again‘. Like this big one: ‘Make the struggle great again’.

Greenpeace, 24 May 2017

And this big Greenpeace banner: ‘Make peace great again’.

Refugees, 24 May 2017

Refugees and their supporters were present as well. Slogans were shouted like ‘Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here’.

Socialist Party, 24 March 2017

Above the demonstrators, flags like of the Dutch Socialist Party with their tomato and star pictures.

Mock Trump, 24 May 2017

Slowly at first, because of the relatively narrow crowded street, the demonstrators, including the mock ‘Donald Trump’ on his vehicle, and the Greenpeace banner, proceeded.

Flags, 24 May 2017

So did the many flags.

There will be more on this march on this blog. Stay tuned!

Brussels against Trump, NATO militarism, report


This video is about the big demonstration in Brussels, Belgium against Donald Trump and NATO militarism on 24 May 2017.

As I blogged on this blog, about 17:30 our bus arrived at Brussel Noord railway station; where a big rally against the visit of Donald Trump to the Brussels NATO headquarters was going on.

Brussels photography, 24 May 2017

At the crowded rally around a big pond, we soon found out we were not the only people who had brought photo cameras. We also saw the first of many pussy hats; a symbol of the anti-Trump movement ever since Trump’s infamous anti-women saying ‘Grab them by the pussy’.

Polar bear hats, 24 May 2017

There were not only pussy hats. Critics of Trump’s anti-climate policies on our side of the station pond wore polar bear hats.

Girls bite back, 24 May 2017

On the other side of the pond, people with signs saying things like Girls bite back; Exit Trump, enter Bernie; and Trump and Pence fuck the world.

From the rostrum, a female Belgian speaker denounced the Belgian government’s plans to buy expensive dodgy Joint Strike Fighter military aircraft. A plan denounced on banners in the crowd as well.

NATO game over, 24 May 2017

A slogan on a sign said NATO: game over.

There were flags of the Dutch Socialist Party. And of the leftist Workers Party of Belgium. I saw one flag of the ‘center left’ SP.a party; a sister party of British Labour, German SPD, Dutch PvdA, Greek PASOK, etc. A Workers Party of Belgium member, dressed up like a parody Donald Trump, told me that the Belgian SP.a were ‘little copies of [Dutch Blairite Eurogroup boss] Dijsselbloem‘.

There were also people in jackets of the FTGB trade union federation. And Kurdish flags as well. And flags of the Walloon green party Ecolo and the Flemish green party Groen.

Trump climate criminal, 24 May 2017

A sign denounced Trump as a ‘climate criminal‘.

Trump climate criminal, on 24 May 2017

On the rostrum, a Standing Rock Native American activist against Trump’s support for the anti-climate DAPL oil pipeline. She said, to much applause, that the struggle would continue.

The Young Friends of the Earth were present as well, with their banner.

A Dutch language Belgian speaker spoke about solidarity with people in the USA, to whom bad things happen, like the ‘Trumpcare’ health ‘reform’.

Pussy grabs back, 24 May 2017

A French language Belgian speaker spoke about Trump’s anti-women policies. Which this sign criticized as well. The other sign ‘Grab ’em by the facts’ was also inspired by Trump’s misogyny; and alluded to the Trump administration’s preference for ‘alternative facts’ over facts.

Unfortunately, one weak point in the Belgian’s good speech: she referred to Trump as a ‘populist’; a word that should not be used for racist politicians like Trump, Marine Le Pen in France, etc.

Then came a woman speaker from the USA: Colonel Ann Wright. A former United States soldier, then a diplomat, now a peace activist. To loud applause, she denounced the militarism of Donald Trump and NATO.

There was a sign in her audience, saying: ‘You say NATO/I say potato/Let’s call the whole thing off’. A parody of a song by George and Ira Gershwin, from 1937: “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off“.

Dinosaur, 24 May 2017

Another sign, in German compared NATO to a dinosaur. With a picture of a dinosaur on a tank ‘caterpillar’, firing bullets from its mouth, with the caption ‘NATO-saurus. Too much armour (or: too many tanks), not enough brains. Wanted: extinction‘.

There were people of the German left party Die Linke present as well.

Latin Americans, 24 May 2017

A bit further were Latin American participants in the demonstration. Cubans with Cuban flags (in the center of the photo), Venezuelans, Colombians, Chileans with Chilean flags (on the left of the photo). The banners on the ground were calling for the closing of US American military bases in Colombia, and for stopping United States Trump administration interference in Venezuela.

The rally was over. The march through Brussels city center started. Stay tuned for more reports about that on this blog!

Against nuclear weapons, on our way to Trump in Brussels


This video says about itself:

Thousands protest Trump’s Brussels visit

24 May 2017

Thousands of demonstrators holding marches in Brussels, Belgium under the slogan ‘Trump not Welcome‘ held anti-NATO and antiwar signs to protest the US president attending a NATO summit on Thursday. RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports from the protest.

That video is one of various videos on that big demonstration in Brussels. There will be more videos, and photos in my blog posts to come on the Brussels demonstration.

However, before arriving there, we had to travel by bus on that 24 May.

In the bus to the anti-Trump demonstration were people from various parts of the Netherlands, from, eg, the peace movement Oorlog is geen Oplossing (war is not a solution), who have a report and photos on their blog, and the Socialist Party. There was Socialist Party MP Ms Sadet Karabulut, the daughter of Kurdish Turkish immigrant workers. There was a refugee from Somalia, now chairman of the Deventer branch of the Socialist Party. He said this demonstration was important, as wars don’t bring solutions. Eg, in his native Somalia, where the United States armed forces invaded in 1993, proclaiming good intentions; but the results were a chain reaction of bloodbaths in Somalia. He said Bernie Sanders should have won the presidential elections in the USA.

There was a member of the Socialist Party’s young people’s organisation from Zeist town. There was a Socialist Party man from Oldeberkoop village in Friesland province. And two women from Sneek town, also in Friesland. There was someone with a T shirt, saying ‘Stop arming Saudi Arabia‘.

The bus crossed the Lek river bridge. At 12:35, it crossed the Maas river bridge.

We picked up some fellow demonstrators in Den Bosch city. We passed a fountain with dragon sculptures in the city center; and a <a href=”https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/giraffes-on-video/”>giraffe statue, modeled on the way famous local painter Hieronymus Bosch depicted that animal, in a city park.

Then, we arrived at the gate of United States nuclear weapons are there; many times there have been protests against them.

These weapons have always been dangerous. Now that Trump is president, they have become even more dangerous.

Our protest that day involved wool (a bit like similar anti-nuclear weapons protests in Britain).

We made a a woolly colourful ‘spider’s web‘ across the access road to the base, blocking the gate.

Volkel, 24 May 2017

This photo shows the woolly spider’s web, with a sign saying ‘Make peace! No war!’, and banners saying ‘Take these nuclear weapons away’ and ‘War is no solution’.

Volkel spider's web, 24 May 2017

Police was present, but did not arrest anyone.

We also hung the banner saying ‘Take these nuclear weapons away’ and other pro-peace banners on the base’s fences.

A women with a Trump face mask on held a spoof ‘Trump‘ speech.

Our bus rode on. Near Eindhoven city there was graffiti about local football club PSV on viaducts. Near Antwerp in Belgium was graffiti depicting ladybugs on viaducts. And also a big traffic jam.

Finally south of Antwerp, we passed Breendonk, during World War II a nazi concentration camp.

We arrived at Brussel Noord railway station, where the demonstration would start. Stay tuned!

Cuban flowers and birds, bye bye!


This 2014 video is called Landing on Varadero Airport, Cuba with beautiful views on Varadero.

On 16 March 2017, the day after 15 March in Havana, our plane did not land at, but left Varadero airport in Cuba.

Before we went to the airport, early in the morning house sparrow sound.

We stopped at the lake we still knew from our first day in Cuba.

Brown pelicans. Ring-necked ducks.

A great egret on the opposite bank. A night heron a bit further on that bank.

An American coot, and two shoveler ducks swimming.

A common gallinule, and a ruddy duck as well.

A Neotropic cormorant.

A palm warbler in a bush.

We continued our journey. 11:39: cattle egrets in a meadow in Matanzas province.

Turkey vultures.

When we arrive at Varadero airport, we hear about delay, like the day we arrived at Varadero. Then, the plane made an unexpected detour because a passenger had heart problems. Now, we hear that the plane has not arrived at the airport yet, so is not flying yet. Outside the airport terminal, three cattle egrets do fly. And three northern mockingbirds sing.

Flowers, on 16 March 2017

And beautiful Cuban flowers are still there.

Flowers, on 16 March 2017

We won’t forget Cuba and its wildlife!