Specialists in monochrome banquet still lifes, Dutch painters took their inspiration from herbaria and cabinets of curiosities, enriched through the country’s colonies and imports. Van Beyeren created works depicting sumptuously laden tables in an expanded palette, their splendour rivalling their virtuosity. Remarkable for the refinement of its execution, this Banquet Still Life is typical of the oeuvre of Van Beyeren, a master at rendering shimmering textures and gleaming silverware.
This richly coloured work featuring the remains of a lavish lunch shows choice foods—red, green and purple grapes, peaches cut in half, a peeled lemon and a small pumpkin—the quintessence of luxury and sensual pleasure. The extravagant setting combines natural and cultural wealth. Diffuse light brings out the shine of the silverware and the transparency of the glass objects, helping to enhance every element of the composition.