Still Life Fruit in a Classical Setting

John Vanderlyn, Jr. (1805-1876)1854/1858

Albany Institute of History & Art

Albany Institute of History & Art
Albany, United States

An engagingly provincial artist, John Vanderlyn, Jr., painted both houses and pictures. In this still life, he shares the idea of bountifulness that characterized so much mid-century American still-life painting by better-known artists of the period. Pears were popular during this era, and accordingly dominate in this composition. The artist contrasts nature's bounty with elegant objects in a variety of materials: glass, ceramics, silver, marble, wood, and fabric. The whole display is theatrically presented with a raised curtain hanging above and a proscenium-like arch derived from an architectural pattern book. The painting's large size suggests that it was destined to be the decorative center of attention in a dining room, a new development for American still-life painting during the 1850s.


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