Frans Snyders - Still Life with Grapes in a Basket, a Dish of Strawberries, and Game Birds
Still Life with Grapes in a Basket, a Dish of Strawberries, and Game Birds
Oil on panel (parquetted). 75 x 107 cm.
A selection of sumptuous objects are arranged on a table covered by a red cloth: A large basket of grapes, strawberries in a porcelain dish, and a selection of dead game birds including songbirds and a partridge. Beside the basket behind the dish of strawberries we see a wine carafe and two glasses. Hella Robels dates the present still life to between 1612 and 1615 (Robels 1989, op cit., p. 250) and thus to the artist's early period.
Snyders returned to his home town of Antwerp in 1609 following a two year sojourn to Italy. There he spent most of his time in Rome and Milan where his patrons included Cardinal Francesco Borromeo. Drawing on the tradition of kitchen and market scenes developed throughout the 16th century, in Antwerp Snyders was able to establish the still life as an independent genre, and his works remained highly influential well into the first half of the 17th century.
The characteristic elements of Flemish still life painting are already fully developed in this piece: The vibrant colour palette, artful arrangement of objects, opulent subject matter and the realistic rendering of the materials depicted, such as the soft feathers of the birds or the delicate surface of the porcelain. Snyders consciously demonstrates the sumptuous and costly nature of the objects, such as the blue and white Wanli dish and the silver-mounted wine decanter. One particularly charming element of the present still life is found in the contrast between the delicate arrangement of hand-picked strawberries in the porcelain dish and the luscious mass of grapes piled high in the basket.
New House Galleries, New York, 1961/1962. - Xaver Scheidwimmer gallery, Munich 1964. - South German private collection.
Edith Greindl: Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XIIe siècle, Sterrebeek 1983, p. 78 & p. 378, no. 222. - Hella Robels: Frans Snyders, Stilleben- und Tiermaler 1579-1657, Munich 1989, p. 250, no. 104 illus.