Frans Snyders

Frans Snyders (Flemish, 1579—1657) was born in the port city of Antwerp, then part of Flanders. Flemish is a term that means “from Flanders,” an historic region overlapping parts of modern Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

Snyders became well known for his animal paintings, and was one of the first to specialize in fable pictures. He eventually produced about 25 fable paintings, including two versions of The Fox and the Heron. His careful observations from nature resulted in richly detailed, believable animals, and colorful settings.

The identification of this painting as by "Frans Snyders and workshop" means that Snyders painted only parts of this work.  Master painters like Snyders often ran workshop-studios, where students and apprentices trained by working alongside the master and his assistants. As the master, Snyders likely painted the most difficult or important parts and left the rest to his workshop.

Shared work among artists was a common practice in the 17th century. Even master artists contributed their own specialties to each other's works. Frans Snyders himself frequently painted fruit, flowers, and animals in works by his friend, Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens.

Frans Snyders, before 1645; by Anthony Van Dyck, Flemish, 1599—1641; MAG: Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr., 76.46