ROOM 9 Bovencamer – Birds and still lifes

This room contains a fine selection of still lifes and animal scenes painted by Snijders and his colleagues. The greatest pioneer of this genre was Joachim Beuckelaer, who specialised in market scenes.

Snijders Rockoxhuis Bovenkamer StillevenFrans Snijders (Antwerp 1579–1657)

  • Still Life
  • Oil on panel
  • Signed, F. Snijders fecit, 1616
  • Antwerp, The Snijders&Rockox House, inv. 85.3

This is a still life with a sense of vitality in a spatial composition – a perfect, natural-looking and harmonious arrangement, with graceful curves that suggest movement. An imaginary diagonal running from the upper left, with the cheerful branch with apricots, to the lower right, with the dead birds, reinforces the composition. The birds make this a literal nature morte, as the still life is called in French. The objects are bathed in a wonderful, cool light, while the background remains shrouded in darkness. The fruit stands out for its absolute, just-picked freshness: look at the grapes, for instance, with their full bodies and half matt, half gleaming skins that guarantee their juiciness.

snijders rockoxhuis bovenkamer festoen met bloemenFrans Snijders (Antwerp, 1579–1657) and
Jan Brueghel the Elder (Brussels, 1568–Antwerp, 1625) and
(Follower of?) Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, 1577–Antwerp, 1640)

  • Garland of Flowers and Fruit with Two Putti
  • Oil on canvas
  • Madrid, Museo del Prado, inv. P01420

This painting is a fine example of collaboration between probably three artists. Jan Brueghel is thought to have painted the flowers, Frans Snijders the fruit and Rubens or a follower of his the two putti. What is notable about this work is that it was already owned by King Philip IV of Spain before 1636. Jan Brueghel and Frans Snijders were good friends, first meeting after Jan returned from Italy in 1596. Jan paid much greater attention to detail than Pieter did, a sense of precision that Snijders shared, and Jan became Frans’s mentor.

 

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