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Wondrous Birds (work of art)

Artwork Info

Hans Thoma
36 3/8 x 29 1/8 inches (92.4 x 74.0 centimeters)


Anonymous gift, 1991

Object Number
European German
European to 1910

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

  • Hans Thoma painted natural landscapes that often depicted his home country of Germany. Many of his paintings are based on German folklore.
  • The perspective used in this painting is unusual. The scene is depicted from another bird’s point of view (a bird’s-eye view), as if the artist was flying beside the three storks.
  • According to German folklore, storks brought good luck to families and delivered babies to their parents.

Learn More

Hans Thoma created several paintings of storks in flight, including Wondrous Birds. He depicted the storks from the perspective of another bird. This point of view makes it look like the artist was in the sky, flying beside the birds. 

Thoma’s focus on painting storks may have been influenced by his interest in German folklore. In these stories storks brought good luck to families. Children were often taught that storks delivered babies to their parents, carrying them down in baskets from the sky. Thoma was known to have a strong interest in symbolism and mythology, but he never explained the meaning of Wondrous Birds. 

tags: animals, environment, force, movement, observation, perspective, flight, clouds, landscape, water

Additional Resources

Resources for Teachers: 


Resources for Students:


  • A painting of three storks flying above a German landscape. Puffy white and gray clouds fill the sky behind the birds. A river with a bridge across it is winding through the landscape below. The land on either side of the river is empty and mostly green. A thicket of green trees is depicted on the bottom right side of this scene.

    Wondrous Birds