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Jacob Marrel

Flowers in a Glass Vase, with Insects, Cherries and Lizards


Jacob Marrel
Frankenthal, Germany, 1614 – Frankfurt 1681


Flowers in a Glass Vase, with Insects, Cherries and Lizards




Oil on copper


75 x 54 cm (approx.)


Gift of Mrs. Neil B. Ivory in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary, inv. 2014.56


Western Art

Marrel played a significant role in both the Utrecht and Frankfurt schools of still life, effectively linking the Dutch tradition of flower painting. In 1650, the date of this very elegantly signed and dated painting, Marrel moved back to Frankfurt. He played a crucial role in the advancement of still life, specifically flower painting, in that cultured and affluent city, until his death there in 1681. This painting includes magnificent specimens of tulips of the Viceroy type, dominating the centre of the bouquet and anchoring the composition, as well as tiger lilies, irises, narcissi, roses, and anemones. The presence of Morello cherries, a recurrent element in the artist’s still lifes, may be a play on his name. The wide range of blossoms, the sophisticated colour balances, and the detailed studies of insects and animals, ranging from a dragonfly, butterfly, caterpillar and snail to sand lizards, are masterfully orchestrated. It was clearly intended for a wealthy collector, as it is executed on an unusually large sheet of copper, rather than, as was common for the artist, panel, the use of the costly metal ground creating an even more luminous effect.

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