• Fish Market

    Artist:
    Snyders, Frans. 1579-1657; Wildens, Jan (landscape). 1586-1653
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    207x341 cm

Snyders, Frans. 1579-1657; Wildens, Jan (landscape). 1586-1653

Fish Market

Flanders, between 1618 and 1621

The love of life and generous character of the Flemish people found embodiment in the monumental series of Stalls painted by Frans Snyders. This artist was the creator of a completely special type of still life. It seems as if all the wealth and splendour of the natural world is gathered together in his compositions that impress us with their wholly Baroque sweep, dynamism and bright colourfulness. In them we find a variety of fruits and all sorts of sea creatures. Although these stalls are the product of the artist’s imagination, in them Snyders demonstrates an exceptional knowledge of nature, conveying with inimitable skill the colour and texture of the slippery bodies of fish and crustaceans, while also concerning himself with producing a decorative effect. These canvases were, after all, intended to adorn grand apartments. The artist produced the series in 1618–21 to a commission from the royal tax-collector Jacques van Ophem for his new mansion in Brussels. According to Snyders’s conception, the pictures served as an allegory of the four elements – Earth, Water, Air and Fire (the Sun), but also illustrated an idea common in the 17th century of the vanity of earthly existence. The images of certain sea creatures symbolize human characteristics. The turtle, for example, was seen as an embodiment of idleness, and the eel of shiftiness and untruthfulness. Here, however, the didactic quality characteristic of Flemish still lifes is completely eclipsed by the splendour and beauty of nature’s bounty.

Title:

Fish Market

Place:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

207x341 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1779; acquired from the R. Walpole collection, Houghton Hall, England

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-604

Comment:

Series of four painting: "Game Stall" (ГЭ-602); "Fruit Stall" (ГЭ-596); "Greengrocery Stall" (ГЭ-598); "Fish Market" (ГЭ-604)

Category:

Collection:

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