Frans Snyders - Still Life with Birds and a Basket of Grapes
Still Life with Birds and a Basket of Grapes
Oil on panel (parquetted). 53 x 75 cm.
Frans Snyders was among the most sought-after and well-connected painters in Antwerp in the early 17th century. He was a pupil of Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Hendrick van Balen, an employee of Peter Paul Rubens and he himself later led an extensive workshop in which numerous well-known artists, for example Jan Fyt, were active.
The present work belongs to a group of four similar still lifes which Hella Robels considers to have been painted relatively early, in around 1612/1613. All of the paintings feature the same selection of objects in differing arrangements: A basket of grapes and vines, a Chinese Wanli bowl with strawberries and a carnation, a handful of small dead birds, and clay vessels. As Hella Robels explains, the objects depicted all had symbolic qualities. The birds, standing for earthly lust, and the vessels, signifying transience, are contrasted with grapevines, carnation, and strawberries as symbols of Christ and of the heavenly paradise.
Rhenish private collection. - Lempertz Cologne, 4th / 5th May 1928, lot 19, pl. 11. - Rhenish private collection.
H. Robels, Frans Snyders. Stillleben- und Tiermaler 1579 - 1657, Munich 1989, p. 249, no. 103.