A Pronk Still Life with Fruit, Oysters, and Lobsters

Andries Benedettifirst half of the 1640s

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Benedetti was the pupil of Jan Davidsz. de Heem, who is credited with the creation of the most sumptuous type of Baroque decorative still life. In an elegant architectural setting with columns and draperies stands a richly-laden table with velvet and damask tablecloths. The expensive fruits, the metal and glass vessels filled with drinks, the enticing oysters and enormous lobsters, crowded into a dynamically composed group on the table symbolise wealth, luxury, and the pleasures of earthly life; but here and there a hidden motif hints at their transience. On the corner of the table, for instance, an upset communion chalice and the bread next to it are eucharistic symbols.

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