Bird on a Branch is a captivating oil painting reproduction of a pen and brown ink drawing by Andrea Mantegna, an iconic Renaissance artist who bridged the Early and High Renaissance periods. The artwork portrays a bird perched on a stylized branch while trying to snap at an unreachable fly above. It was made in the 1460s, when Mantegna was experimenting with perspective and developing pen and brown ink as his preferred medium.
The image was used as the basis for a predella panel included in an altarpiece commissioned for Verona. However, this particular painting is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where it remains one of its most famous masterpieces.
Mantegna’s ability to use vivid detail makes this piece one that demands close inspection granted by its inclusion in many retrospectives around the world. In fact, some renowned art galleries regularly borrow it for temporary exhibitions, including The Louvre Museum Paris which hosted a successful retrospective exhibition dedicated to Mantegna’s work from March-June 2019. Bird on A Branch shows how well Mantegna could depict delicate forms such as feathers or leaves using linearity so they look both fragile yet somewhat sturdy simultaneously making it one of his hallmark works that cements him as one of art history’s influential masters.