Roelant Savery (or Roeland(t) Maertensz Saverij, or de Savery, or many variants ) (1576- buried 2February 1639), was a Flanders-born Dutch Golden Age painter.
Works Sources LifeLandscape with birds and dodo, (1628).One of the most famous paintings of a dodo specimen, as painted by Roelant Savery in 1626. The image came into the possession of the ornithologist George Edwards, who later gave it to the British MuseumStilllife (130x80cm, 1624) the largest painting he ever made, with 4different species of animals and species of flowers.
Savery was born in Kortrijk. Like so many other artists, he belonged to an Anabaptist family that fled north from the Spanish-occupied Southern Netherlands when Roelant was about years old and settled in Haarlem around 1585. He was taught painting by his older brother Jacob Savery (c.1565-1603) and Hans Bol.
After his schooling, Savery traveled to Prague around 1604, where he became court painter of the Emperors Rudolf II (1552-1612) and Mathias (1557-1619), who had made their court a center of mannerist art. Between 1606-160he traveled to Tyrol to study plants. Gillis d'Hondecoeter became his pupil.
Savery moved back to Amsterdam, and lived in the Sint Antoniesbreestraat. In 161he settled in Utrecht, where he joined the artist's guild a year later. His nephew Hans would become his most important assistant.
Savery bought a large house on the Boterstraat in Utrecht. The house had a large garden with flowers and plants, where a number of fellow painters, like Adam Willaerts were frequent visitors. Savery had kept his house in Amsterdam, and had one child baptized in Nieuwe Kerk (Amsterdam).
Savery was friends with still life painters like Balthasar van der Ast and Ambrosius Bosschaert. In the 1620s he was one of the most successful painters in Utrecht, but later his life got troubled, perhaps because of heavy drinking. Though he would have pupils until the late 1630s, amongst which Allaert van Everdingen and Roelant Roghman, he went bankrupt in 163and died in Utrecht half a year later. Works
Savery primarily painted landscapes in the Flemish tradition of Gillis van Coninxloo , often embellished with many meticulously painted animals and plants, regularly with a mythological or biblical theme as background. He also painted multiple flower still lifes; bouquets in stone niches, sometimes with lizards, insects or fallen petals and regarded as his best work.
His unique style of painting, related to the then reigning Mannerism, has been highly popular with collectors and can be found in many museums in Europe and North America. His preparatory drawings are also valued highly.
Among his best-known works are several depictions of the now-extinct dodo painted in 162and 1628. His nephew Hans a.k.a. Jan Savery was also known for his paintings of the dodo (including a famous 165illustration currently held at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History), which he probably copied from his uncle's work.