This work is a wonderful example of the Dutch still-life, a genre that became very fashionable in the 17th century. They featured simple compositions with a few, very luxurious, objects, in contrast to the more crowded Flemish still-lifes. These luxury items were imported by the well-off middle classes and they were brought to Holland from far-off lands, thanks to its important maritime trade.
Among the objects that appear in this picture, is a Chinese bowl from the Ming period. Chinese porcelains were unique and sumptuous pieces, and the secrets of their manufacture were jealously guarded by the Chinese. The cup is a beautiful nautilus shell decorated and mounted on gold. The painter has employed the Tenebrist technique here, placing the pieces against a black background so that the light enhances the qualities of each object. The lemon and orange are very realistic. They, too, were expensive items, probably imported from Spain or another Mediterranean country. The transparency of the glass and the luxurious Persian rug are also very realistic.
This artist, who was born in Rotterdam, moved to Paris for a number of years, where he became acquainted with other Flemish still-life painters. On his return, he settled in Amsterdam, where he became one of the most sought-after painters in the city, much in demand from wealthy citizens who were keen to have their treasures portrayed. His epitaph reads: "this artist knew how to paint the richest treasures, but no treasure could pay for his merits as a painter".
(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Permission: This artwork is in the public domain: The author of this artwork died more than 70 years ago. According to E.U. Copyright Law, copyright expires 70 years after the author's death. In other countries, legislation may differ.
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