Many seventeenth-century painters specialized in a particular genre. Abraham van Beijeren built his career on two seemingly unrelated subjects: still lifes and sea or river views. He is best known for his still lifes displaying wealth and abundance.

Van Beijeren was a true master of variation. The same objects appear in nearly all his still lifes, but he arranged them differently on each occasion so that no two paintings are alike. The silver pitcher, the half-peeled lemon, the watch, and the silver-plated beaker that he depicted in this work are some of the objects he used time and again. The window in the upper left corner and the sashed curtain in front of it can also be seen in many of his paintings.

The still life is a delight, but there is more to this array of extravagant objects than meets the eye. The painting also contains a hidden message: it reminds the observer of the virtue of moderation. The personification of Fortune surmounting beaker alludes to the vagaries of fate, while the three roses on the silver dish and the watch beside the bunch of grapes symbolize the passage of time and the transience of earthly possessions.


  • Title: Sumptuous Still Life
  • Creator Lifespan: 1620/1621 - 1690
  • Creator Nationality: Dutch
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Overschie, the Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: The Hague, the Netherlands
  • Date Created: 1654
  • Theme: Still Life
  • Physical Dimensions: w1060 x h1260 cm (Without frame)
  • Painter: Abraham van Beijeren
  • Original Title: Pronkstilleven
  • More Info: Link - Read more about Golden Age - Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen - http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • Artist Information: Abraham van Beijeren's name appeared in 1816 as Aelbert van Beijeren in the book 'History of the Fatherland's painting art' by Van Eijnden and Van de Willigen. Nowadays, Abraham van Beijeren is considered one of the most important painters in the areas of seascapes and sumptuous and fish still lifes in the Golden Age. Abraham van Beijeren was active in The Hague, Delft, Amsterdam, Alkmaar and Overschie.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Lent by Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen 1950, http://collectie.boijmans.nl/en/disclaimer/
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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