Happy Thanksgiving from the Italian Art Society! Did you know that turkeys first came to Italy during the Renaissance? The Bishop of Santo Domingo in Haiti sent a pair of turkeys back to Rome in 1520, and from then it became fashionable among the curia to keep flocks of the birds. Italian artists found them fascinating, and they began to appear in paintings and sculptures by artists working for the Medici.
Reference: Sabine Eiche, “The Turkey Dazzles Renaissance Florentines,” The Florentine, no. 20 (2005).
Giambologna, Turkey, 1560s, bronze, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence
Baldassare de Caro, Still-Life with Turkey, Fruit and Flying Pigeon, 18th century, oil on canvas, Pinacoteca d’Errico, Matera
Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Autumn, 1573, oil on canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Giovanni da Udine, Turkey, 1522-23, Villa Madama, Rome