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October 13, 2020

Acquisition: Frans Snyders, "Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds"

Frans Snyders, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds, c. 1615, oil on panel, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Pflieger

Frans Snyders
Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds, c. 1615
oil on panel
overall: 50.4 x 67 cm (19 13/16 x 26 3/8 in.)
framed: 66.04 x 82.55 cm (26 x 32 1/2 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John E. Pflieger

The Gallery has acquired its second still-life painting by Frans Snyders (1579–1657), one of the most accomplished Flemish painters of the 17th century. The painting was generously donated by Donna Pflieger, reaffirming her and her family's long-standing commitment to the Gallery.

A native of Antwerp, Snyders trained with the renowned Flemish artists Pieter Brueghel the Younger (c. 1564–1637/1638) and Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632). He achieved international fame for his magnificent still lifes of market displays, trophies of the hunt, and tabletops brimming with fruit and game. Over the course of his career, Snyders frequently collaborated with Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), painting the still-life and animal elements in many of Rubens's best-known compositions.

Offering a masterful compilation of flowers, birds, and grapes, Still Life with Flowers, Grapes, and Small Game Birds (c. 1615) is an early example of the modestly scaled and beautifully detailed still lifes Snyders executed throughout his career. Finches, robins, and other dead birds are piled in the foreground, while a gleaming gold tazza overflows with plump grapes and delicately twisting vines. A colorful array of tulips, roses, and other blossoms emerging from a glass vase demonstrates the artist's wide-ranging understanding of the natural world.

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