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  • Still Life with Fruit, Overturned Basket and Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase

    Artist:
    Ast, Balthasar van der. 1593/94-1657
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    75x104 cm

Ast, Balthasar van der. 1593/94-1657

Still Life with Fruit, Overturned Basket and Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase

Holland, Circa 1625

One distinctive feature of the whole of Dutch art in the 17th century could be said to be the attentiveness with which artists viewed life around them. The subjects of their works were strongly influenced by the preferences of their customers, although they cannot be called “commissioned pieces” in the direct sense of the term. Among paintings of this sort, particular interest attaches to the works of Balthasar van der Ast, a painter who trained under Flemish masters. The still life genre provided the occasion for tackling new tasks in painting, opening up enormous possibilities for the members of the Dutch school of art. The flowers and exotic delicacies that ships brought back to Dutch ports from around the world, the wealth of the fish markets with their astonishing variety of creatures from the deep, furs, jewellery, expensive fabrics and even ordinary domestic utensils – all these things became part of the everyday life of the Dutch and were depicted by artists. This Still Life with Fruit is a typical painting for the period. The two parrots have overturned a basket of fruit that is rolling and falling off the table. The artist meticulously conveys the warm surface of the apricots and paints the shiny skins of the cherries and grapes. Crickets, snails, butterflies and dragonflies, the twisting vine and the little vase containing exquisite garden flowers – all this conglomeration of details overloads the composition. The artist’s concept is justified though: he presents us with an illustration of the splendour and fullness of life. Abundance here becomes an allegory of beauty.

Title:

Still Life with Fruit, Overturned Basket and Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

75x104 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1937; transferred from the Leningrad Customs Office

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-8472

Category:

Collection:

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