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Oil painting - Flower Piece

Flower Piece

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Verelst, Simon (Pietersz.), born 1644 (painted by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Mrs M. V. Cunliffe

  • Museum number:

    P.8-1963

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Osterley Park House, London

A flower piece including a rose, iris, poppy, carnation and, at centre, a turban buttercup (?) (Ranunculus asiaticus) in a spherical glass vase on a stone table. A butterfly flutters at centre right. Twisting and complex, the composition is pulled into place by the manipulation of light and colour. Verelst's works demonstrate a familiarity with Willem van Aelst but the effect and the composition of this work are particularly inventive. The innovative asymmetrical composition, is made up of both indigenous and exotic species of flowers, and uses strong light-dark contrasts. Flowers are arranged with tall stems at upper right and a hanging bloom at lower left.

Physical description

A flower piece including a rose, iris, poppy, carnation and, at centre, a turban buttercup (?) (Ranunculus asiaticus) in a spherical glass vase on a stone table. A butterfly flutters at centre right.

Date

ca. 1700 (painted)

Artist/maker

Verelst, Simon (Pietersz.), born 1644 (painted by)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Height: 77.5 cm estimate, Width: 64 cm estimate

Object history note

Historical significance: This painting has been attributed, based on photographs only, to Simon (Pietersz.) Verelst (b The Hague,1644; d London, ?1721) by Dr. Fred Meijer in February 2010 (verbal communication). Born in The Hague, Verelst moved to London in 1669 where his work was admired and where he died at an uncertain date. Compared to his signed and dated works, this work seems to have been painted during the artist's early years in London. Twisting and complex, the composition is pulled into place by the manipulation of light and colour. Verelst's works demonstrate a familiarity with Willem van Aelst but the effect and the composition of this work are particularly inventive. The innovative asymmetrical composition, is made up of both indigenous and exotic species of flowers, and uses strong light-dark contrasts. Flowers are arranged with tall stems at upper right and a hanging bloom at lower left. This piece appears to date from the late 17th century as it gives characteristic attention to representing damaged areas on leaves and broken flower stems.

Historical context note

The term 'still life' conventionally refers to works depicting an arrangement of diverse inanimate objects including fruits, flowers, shellfish, vessels and artefacts. The term derives from the Dutch 'stilleven', which became current from about 1650 as a collective name for this type of subject matter. Still-life reached the height of its popularity in Western Europe, especially in the Netherlands, during the 17th century although still-life subjects already existed in pre-Classical, times. As a genre, this style originates in the early 15th century in Flanders with Hugo van der Goes (ca.1440-1482), Hans Memling (ca.1435-1494) and Gerard David (ca.1460-1523) who included refined still-life details charged with symbolic meaning in their compositions in the same manner as illuminators from Ghent or Bruges did in their works for decorative purpose. In the Low Countries, the first types of still life to emerge were flower paintings and banquet tables by artists like Floris van Schooten (c.1585-after 1655). Soon, different traditions of still life with food items developed in Flanders and in the Netherlands where they became especially popular commodities in the new bourgeois art market. Dutch painters played a major role the development of this genre, inventing distinctive variations on the theme over the course of the century while Flemish artist Frans Snyders' established a taste for banquet pieces. These works were developed further in Antwerp by the Dutchman Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-1684) who created opulent baroque confections of fruit, flowers, and precious vessels that became a standardized decorative type throughout Europe. Scholarly opinion had long been divided over how all of these images should be understood. The exotic fruits and valuable objects often depicted testify to the prosperous increase in wealth in cities such as Amsterdam and Haarlem but may also function as memento mori, or vanitas, that is, reminders of human mortality and invitations to meditate upon the passage of time.

Descriptive line

Oil painting entitled 'Flower Piece', probably by Simon Verelst. Dutch School, ca. 1700.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 97, cat. no. 107

Production Note

Compared to his signed and dated works, this work seems to have been painted during the artist's early years in London. This piece appears to date from the late 17th century as it gives characteristic attention to representing damaged areas on leaves and broken flower stems.

Materials

Oil paint; Canvas

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

Iris; Butterfly; Flowers; Table; Vases

Categories

Paintings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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