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Georg Flegel

Still Life with Crawfish and Pike’s Head


Georg Flegel
Olmütz (now Olomouc), Moravia, 1566 – Frankfurt 1638


Still Life with Crawfish and Pike’s Head


Between 1610 and 1635


Oil on wood


36.9 x 44.6 cm


Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein, inv. 2015.29


Western Art

Installed in Frankfurt, Flegel took over the workshop of his master Van Valckenborch. Considered Germany’s first true still-life painter, Flegel’s work had a tremendous impact on subsequent German still-life artists.
Flegel’s still lifes demonstrate his interest in tactility, texture and light. In the present painting, the artist’s experimentation with the subtleties of light is seen in reflections of the peaches, fish and nuts in their metallic dishes, as well as in the glass of wine, which appears to reflect the light from the painter’s studio. A strong directional light from the left side of the painting is defined through the shadows of the carafe and the cup that are cast on the surfaces of other objects. Flegel’s ability to depict minute detail is evident in the precise rendering of the loaf of bread on the right, the pike’s head and the ceramic carafe. At the same time, the artist applies a looser touch in his representation of the fruit and nuts. Such a mixture of stylistic techniques was an effective method of conveying a sense of tactility and texture.

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