Skip to main content

Still life with fruit and macaws: 295

An image of Painting

Photograph copyright © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Colours in this image

Alternative views

Object information

Titles

Still life with fruit and macaws

Maker(s)

Ast, Balthasar van der (Painter)

Description

Label text from the exhibition ‘Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500–1800’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 26 November 2019 until 31 August 2020: Still life with fruit and macaws Painted on copper for maximum luminosity, this brightly coloured image was designed to delight the senses. On the one hand, it celebrates abundance, luxury, and the exotic with succulent fruit, two New World macaws, and two Chinese blue-and-white porcelain dishes made for export to Europe. However, closer inspection reveals insects on the fruit, leaves curling and turning brown, and a pomegranate past its best. Such details were included as a coded moralising message to show the destructive effects of time, calling to mind the brevity of life and warning against worldly vanity: the fruit will rot, the birds will die, and the porcelain will break.

Balthasar van der Ast (1593/94 –1657) Utrecht, Netherlands, 1622 Oil on copper Daniel Mesman Bequest, 1834 (295) 66 Dish with pomegranate tree This unusually large mid-seventeenth-century Chinese blue-and-white dish is embellished with a stylised pomegranate tree-of-life. A pair of split-open pomegranates nestle at the centre of its trunk, their seeds deliberately exposed as a sign of their reproductive capacity. Like the porcelain dishes in van der Ast’s painting (displayed to the left), this expensive dish was made for a wealthy European, the luxury and exoticism of the pomegranate motif echoing that of the porcelain.

Oil painting on a copper plate, depicting fruit and macaws. The various fruits includes grapes, cherries, pears, apricots and pomegranate. In the foreground are a pair of macaws, one red and yellow, the other yellow and dark green-black, as well as a pair of Ming blue and white porcelain dishes.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Daniel Mesman

Measurements and weight

Height: 20.5 cm
Width: 26.8 cm

Relative size of this object

26.8 cm20.5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Utrecht ⪼ Holland

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1834) by Mesman, Daniel

Dating

17th Century
Production date: AD/CE 1622

School or Style

Dutch

Materials used in production

Oil paint

Components of the work

Support: composed of copper

Techniques used in production

Painting (image-making) : Oil on copper

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: B. van der Ast
  • Location: To left
  • Signature
  • Text: fe. 1622
  • Location: To left
  • Date

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: 295
Primary reference Number: 1078
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 3 December 2020 Last processed: Sunday 28 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Paintings, Drawings and Prints

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Painting" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/1078 Accessed: 2022-01-25 17:53:45

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/1078|title=Painting|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-01-25 17:53:45|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/imagestore/aa/aa30/295_1_20140218_mfj22_mas.jpg" alt="Still life with fruit and macaws" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Still life with fruit and macaws</figcaption> </figure> </div>

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Still life with fruit and flowers

Accession Number: PD.35-1975

Still life with fruit and a vase of flowers

Accession Number: PD.88-1973

Still life with fruit

Accession Number: M.47

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...

University of Cambridge Museums logo
Arts Council England Logo
Research England logo
The Technology Partnership logo
Brewin Dolphin Logo