I have to laugh at myself, which is something I do pretty regularly. I was preparing an "O" post about Georgia O'Keeffe. However, as I often do in internet land, I went wandering. My clicking took me to a painting by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a French painter that lived from 1686 to 1755. When I saw the title of the below paining I just had to know more. Why was Oudry painting a rhinoceros, and more importantly, how did she get the name of Clara? I'm cheating (just a bit) because this story is really about Clara and not about Jean-Baptiste Oudry.
|Clara the Rhinoceros, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1749|
In 1738 when she was just one month old, Clara was adopted by a human in India after her mother was killed by hunters. After a few years, Clara ended up in the hands of a ship’s captain, who sailed her off to Europe. What a journey that must have been. She disembarked at Rotterdam (Netherlands) in 1741, at the age of 3. She then started a lifelong journey visiting many of the capitals of Europe. She had audiences with King Frederick II of Prussia, Augustus III (the King of Poland) as well as King Louis XV. She spent 5 months in Paris where Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted a life-size portrait of her. After her stint in Paris she toured Italy, including Rome, Napes and Venice. She made it to Prague, Warsaw and Copenhagen before her return to London in 1758. She died in London at about the age of 20.
|Clara the Rhinoceros in Venice, Pietro Longhai, 1751|
With a few more clicks I found out there is actually a book about the story of Clara's life called "Clara's Grand Tour" by Glynis Ridley (2004). Think they will make this into a movie?
Many thanks to Christine for pointing out Blogger wasn't working earlier. I hope I've fixed it and people can now leave comments.