icon filter Resono Pin 1 Resono Pin 2 Resono Pin 3

Roelant Savery's Wonderful World

De tentoonstelling Roelant Savery's Wonderlijke Wereld is te zien van 8 februari t/m 20 mei in het Mauritshuis in Den Haag.
City center
Exhibition genre
Visit website
Add to your calendar
He was a pioneer in many areas and introduced many new themes in Dutch painting. He made the first Dutch flower still life and was the painter of the legendary (extinct) dodo. He was also the first artist to draw ordinary people outside on the street. His painted landscapes are often fairytale-like, with ancient ruins and wonderful views. And there are so many animals in his 'animal pieces' that 'overcrowded' is an understatement.

The exhibition Roelant Savery's Wonderful World introduces the visitor to this 'all-rounder in art' through more than 40 paintings and drawings from his own collection and many foreign loans

About Roelant Savery

Roelant Savery was born in Kortrijk in a Protestant family. It was a very turbulent time, in the middle of the Eighty Years' War against Spain. When Roelant was six years old, the Savery family was forced to move to Haarlem. A few years later he became a painter's apprentice with his brother Jaques, ten years his senior, in Amsterdam. The brothers worked together there after Roelant's apprenticeship, until Jaques suddenly died of the plague in 1603. A short time later, Roelant left for Prague to work for the Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II. This monarch was the greatest collector of his time. 

Roelant Savery lived in Prague for more than ten years, where he developed into an incredibly versatile artist. He chose his subjects from the wide world around him and specialized in forest and mountain landscapes, animal pieces and floral still lifes. He depicted flora and fauna in detail, including new species that were brought to Europe from all over the world. 

For an artistic jack-of-all-trades like Roelant Savery, the court of Rudolf II was a paradise. The emperor collected not only art and scientific instruments, but also plants and animals. In the gardens at Rudolf's palace in Prague, Savery was able to study the wonders of nature for himself. In the warm months of the year the emperor sent him out to Tyrol to make sketches of the beautiful landscape. He bawled his eyes out.

Savery and the Dodo

The Roman poet Ovid describes how Orpheus enchants the animals with his music. All the animals of creation come together when they hear him play his lyre, without seeking each other's lives. Roelant Savery used the subject to show what he was good at: painting animals. 

There are many different species: a few lions, a cheetah, rhino and camel, but also cattle and other livestock and many birds. An ostrich stands out against the blue background. On the right is a dodo sitting on a rock. Savery painted this extinct bird in various animal paintings. 

The dodo was a flightless bird that lived on the island of Mauritius, in the western Indian Ocean. After Dutch sailors landed there in the early 17th century, the bird quickly came to an end. The dodo became extinct due to intensive hunting and imported diseases. Since then, the dodo has become a well-known symbol of species extinction due to human actions. 

Emperor Rudolf II had a dodo in his extensive collection of rare animals. It is not certain whether it was a living or stuffed specimen. Roelant Savery met the bird in Prague. He became the artist of the dodo, the first to paint this bird. It is striking that Savery's dodos are quite obese - in reality the animal was slimmer. This seems to suggest that Savery based his work on a stuffed animal that had been prepared with too much stuffing. In hey

Dates and Times

8 February 202420 May 2024
13:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
The Mauritshuis is open on Boxing Day (10:00 AM - 6:00 PM) and New Year's Day (10:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
€ 0,00 - 19,00
Adults € 19,00
Children under 18 years Free
Go to top