Grotesque little monster
Bronze, black lacquer, attributed to Arent van Bolten, c. 1610-c. 1630, Rijksmuseum

Standing at a height of 17 cm, this statue has the body of a snail, the legs of an ostrich, a head that is birdlike yet human. The creature stands on its high legs with open mouth. In the place of the wings, there is the spiral wall of a snail shell, and it displays pronounced genitals. The silversmith Arent van Bolten was fascinated by such bizarre monsters, as is evidenced by his numerous design drawings and prints. This statuette may have once served as an incense burner or an oil lamp.


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