Jan Fyt, a prosperous Antwerp artist who enjoyed the patronage of numerous important collectors, was a prolific painter of still lifes. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the genre was the game piece, a distinct category devoted to the hunt, in which the results of the day’s efforts are gathered for contemplation. Here, the hunter’s trophies—hares, ducks and songbirds—are formally arranged in a pyramidal scheme, with the suspended hare marking the center of the tabletop. This painting is an occasion for Fyt’s bravura display of brushwork in the laying down of fur and feathers and the warm, tonal palette. Below the catch, the foils of red drapery and white linen furnish the ensemble with dramatic flair.
Depictions of bagged animals, commissioned by the nobility, date back to the Renaissance. In seventeenth-century Europe, hunting remained, for the most part, the privilege of the nobility. Owning such a painting betokened social prestige, whether or not it recorded the spoils of a specific hunt. Fyt’s game pieces were eagerly acquired by the urban elite to decorate their houses and thereby associate themselves with a lifestyle reserved for aristocrats.
- Artist Name: Jan Fyt (Flemish, 1611-1661)
- Title: Still Life with a Red Curtain
- Date: c. 1660
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 43 x 62-1/2 in. (109.2 x 158.8 cm)
- Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
- Accession Number: F.1972.36.3.P
- Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation
Sir Robert V. Sutton, 8th Baronet of Lexington, Wincanton, Somerset (sale, London, Christie's, 29 January 1971, lot 61, to;
[Edward Speelman, Ltd., London, sold 1972 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.
- London, British Institution, 1863 to 1863
- Graves, Algernon, A Century of Loan Exhibitions 1813-1912, p. 367
- Greindl, Edith, Les peintures flamands de nature morte au XVII siècle,no. 83 p. 349
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 844 p. 344
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