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Willem van Aelst

Still Life with Herring


Willem van Aelst
Delft 1627 – Amsterdam (?) after 1687


Still Life with Herring


1666 (?)


Oil on canvas


43.7 x 33 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2013.8


Western Art

The Dutch painter Van Aelst’s elegant still lifes feature carefully balanced compositions in which asymmetrical arrangements are rendered using a magnificent palette of colours. These exquisite paintings had a considerable influence on the genre in the late seventeenth century. Taken as models by emulators, renowned flower painting specialists, they acquired great prestige. The blue colour of the leaves and stems is the result of fading. Such elements were originally painted in deep, rich green tones, whose visual impact was appreciated by connoisseurs. The green, obtained by adding a yellow pigment to ultramarine, changed with time due to the effect of exposure to light, which now leaves perceptible only a strikingly transparent blue.

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