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.
- Artist Name: Jan Brueghel the Younger (Flemish, 1601-1678)
- Title: Flowers in a Gilt Tazza
- Date: c. 1620
- Medium: Oil on panel
- Dimensions: 21-15/16 x 16-7/8 in. (55.7 x 42.9 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1972.13.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
(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.
- Oberlin, Oberlin College, Allen Memorial Art Museum, 1972-05-22 to 1973-05-08
- Ertz, Klaus, Jan Breughel, the Younger: Flemish Painters in the Circle of the Great Masters,no. 285 pp. 449, 448
- Connaissance des Arts,
- Segal, Sam, A Prosperous Past: The Sumptuous Sill Life in the Netherlands 1600-1700,no. 10, fig. 6.2 pp. 100, 214
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 70
- Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum,1980, p. 50
- Andrea Bacchi, Francesca Mambelli, Elisabetta Sambo, La Natura morta di Federico Zeri,2015, fig. 6 pp. 293, 295, 305, 307, 310, 316, 317
- Ertz, Klaus, Jan Breughel der ältere (1568-1625) Die Gemäld mit kritschem Oeuvrekatalog,no. 379 pp. 531, 602
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 786 p. 338
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