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Osias Beert

Still Life of Plums, Nuts and Apples, Raspberries and Sweetmeats


Osias Beert
Antwerp about 1580 – Antwerp 1624


Still Life of Plums, Nuts and Apples, Raspberries and Sweetmeats


Between 1610 and 1620


Oil on wood


50.7 x 69 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2014.81


Western Art

Active in Flanders from 1602 to 1623, Beert is now recognized as the leading figure in the first generation of Flemish landscape artists in the southern Netherlands. With its carefully executed, beautifully smooth surface, this painting attracts the eye through the masterful handling of forms and the magic of its saturated colours. Beert favoured vertical compositions for his still lifes, which juxtaposed food, Chinese porcelain and other precious objects. The view from above enables the various items to be shown in their entirety. Nevertheless, on occasion elements on the edges of the painting could be cut off, as is the case here. The dark background is in the style of much older still lifes, a feature that was highly appreciated by Beert’s contemporaries. The dragonfly in the lower right corner is an evocation of the vanity and fleeting nature of all things, while the fancifully shaped sweetmeats were the kind of treats made in Flanders for Easter, the feast of Saint Nicholas and christenings. Signed paintings by Beert are rare, but the peach cut in half seen in the foreground is a typical feature of his work, thus serving as a seal of authenticity.

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