Hummingbird and Passionflowers

Martin Johnson Heade American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 760

From 1880 to 1904, Heade, an ardent devotee of natural history, contributed over one hundred letters and articles on hummingbirds and related topics to “Forest and Stream.” Although he was fascinated with the painting of hummingbirds as early as 1862, the majority of his compositions date between 1875 and 1885, after his final trip to South America. The particular species of the hummingbird represented in this painting is the black-eared fairy (Heliothryx aurita) whose habitat is the lowlands of the Amazon basin, as is the passionflower (Passiflora racemosa). Heade, who was familiar with the scientific writings of Charles Darwin, conveys the dualities and interconnectedness between the hummingbird and the passionflowers in this painting.

Hummingbird and Passionflowers, Martin Johnson Heade (1819–1904), Oil on canvas, American

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