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Still Life with fruit in a Wanli bowl
(1632), Balthasar van der Ast
Van der Ast was a pioneer of the shell still life, and he was famed for his depictions of flowers and lizards too. This panel features them all. The Dutch painter had been trained by his brother-in-law, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, and continued his master’s precise transcriptions of fruit and flowers in carefully balanced compositions. Gradually these became larger and more complex and included, as here, Chinese export porcelain and all manner of insects.