Golden-Crowned Kinglet and Rhododendron
Robert Bateman painted this for the late Princess Grace of Monaco. He and Birgit presented the painting to Princess Grace in 1982. Knowing Princess Grace liked flowers and birds, Bob chose a flower and bird that could be found both in Europe and North America. The firecrest, as it is known in Europe, is in close appearance to the Golden-Crowned Kinglet.
“Because of the way the continents line up and the way they separated years ago, there are many plants and animals common to America and Europe. In fact, the farther north one goes, the more one finds in common. This scene could take place in northwestern Europe or the northeastern United States and Canada.
The rhododendron is found in many parts of the world. I have seen them in the Himalayas looking like massive trees covered with bunches of roses. It seems to me that wherever they grow, it is beautiful country. I would expect them in hilly areas, often with rock outcrop. There would be enough rain to give lushness to the landscape, but at the same time there is usually a cool, clean quality. Surrounding a small lake in England, these rhododendrons were so heavily laden with blossoms that some of the branches dipped down into the water.
The Golden-Crowned Kinglet is called the firecrest in Europe. Both male and female have a yellow patch on the crown, but the male has a splash of bright vermillion down the center. They are so tiny that they seem like a little flower themselves except that they bounce about from twig to twig in an energetic manner.
In this work I wanted to show the diminutive quality of the bird by subordinating it to the blossoms. Although the images have delicate feminine look, I was also intrigued by the abstract power created by the shapes in the reflections.” – Robert Bateman