Flowers in a Gilt Tazza

Jan Brueghel the Younger (Flemish, 1601-1678)
c. 1620
Oil on panel 
21-15/16 x 16-7/8 in. (55.7 x 42.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

This painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger demonstrates the exquisite and meticulous style that fed the growing appetite of seventeenth-century patrons for still lifes. The challenge of rendering such varied and complex natural forms, as well as the ornate tazza, demanded extraordinary technical skill. The gilt tazza, for example, is frequently depicted in Baroque painting holding wine or such delicacies as biscuits or candied fruits. It presents a challenge to the artist to render the circular form, the astonishing details of the goldsmith’s work and the lustrous finish, all of which Brueghel has handled with confidence, layering thin strokes of yellow over darker gold to suggest the cup’s reflective surfaces.

To delineate the mass of delicate flowers, however, Brueghel has employed a closer handling, so that his technique is almost invisible, but not quite. Netticheyt, or neatness, describes this style of painting, which complements the microscopic detail of the dainty, vibrant flowers displayed in the tazza. The artist completes his tour de force with two butterflies, a ladybug and drops of water on the shelf, calling attention to his skill at trompe l’oeil.


Maria-Luisa de Acocer (wife of Don Pedro Cortina y Mauri, Spanish Ambassador to France, 1966-19??).
(sale, Paris, Palais Galliera, 7 December 1971, lot 6, ill, as atelier de Jan Brueghel de Velours, Fleurs dans une coupe, to);
[Newhouse Galleries, New York, stock no. 18568, in partnership with MAHLA, Zurich/Frederick Mont; sold 18 May 1972 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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