Sunday, February 9, 2014

Painting of the Day: A Wreath of Fruit with Birds Suspended by a Cord, Eighteenth Century

Wreath of Fruit with Birds Suspended by A Cord
Unknown Artist after Frans Snyders
Eighteenth Century
One of a Pair
The Victoria & Albert Museum
When a collector spotted a painting that he liked in a museum or the home of an associate, in the Eighteenth Century, he couldn’t very well take a photo of it. If he wanted to have a copy of th painting, he had to commission it and the work would be carried out by another painter. For this reason, every so often, we’ll come across a copy of a painting which dates to around the same period of the creation of the original work. Similarly, paintings were copied by students—either of the original artist or another—as a means of perfecting their own techniques.

Here, we have such a copy. This subtle still life is a partial late Eighteenth Century copy after a large composition by Frans Snyders-- 
The Infant Jesus with St John the Baptist and Putti with Flowers and Fruit Garlands. In this scene of a wreath of fruits with birds flitting around, the painting depicts a variety of fruits including cherries, strawberries, apples, grapes and pomegranates. In the original painting, this wreath constitutes the upper part of the composition—essentially adornment above the figures of Jesus and John. For some reason the artist duplicated the upper part of the canvas as its own work and then reproduced the original’s festoons of vegetables as another canvas

The original artist, Frans Snyders (1579-1657) was born in Antwerp, where he studied under Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1565-1637) and Hendrick van Balen (1575-1632). Snyders soon became a member of the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1602, and, later travelled in Italy from 1608 to 1609. His specialty, clearly, was still-lifes, but he also enjoyed painting animals. He is credited for creating a new form of still life: the animal still life.  Lots and lots of dead rabbits and birds with rotting fruit...

Snyders notably collaborated with a number of celebrated artists: Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Cornelis de Vos (ca.1584-1651), Abraham Janssen (ca.1575-1632), Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), Jan Boeckhorst (1605-1668) and Willeboirts Bosschaert (1614-1654) to name a few. 

No comments: