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    Sale 7575

    Old Master and British Pictures

    25 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 41

    Studio of Juan van der Hamen y León (Madrid 1596-1631)

    Grapes and pomegranates in a wicker basket with candied fruit on a tazza, earthenware and two marmosets on a stone ledge and fruit suspended from the wall

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Studio of Juan van der Hamen y León (Madrid 1596-1631)
    Grapes and pomegranates in a wicker basket with candied fruit on a tazza, earthenware and two marmosets on a stone ledge and fruit suspended from the wall
    oil on canvas
    21½ x 48 in. (53.4 x 121.9 cm.)


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    The present canvas - probably an overdoor - illustrates the eclecticism of van der Hamen's art and, in particular, its relationship to the work of Frans Snyders (W.B. Jordan, loc. cit.). This composition makes ample use of motifs from van der Hamen's repertoire; for example, the tazza of candied fruit on the far left is seen in van der Hamen's Still life with Candied Fruits, Pastries and a Glass Goblet of 1622 (private collection). The basket of fruit, the hanging apples and oranges and the terracotta vessels balanced on each side of the ledge all similarly recall other paintings by van der Hamen. The mischievous marmosets pilfering the food clearly reflects the impact of Frans Snyders, whose works the Spaniard knew, and who similarly introduced such primates into his still lifes. By the 16th century the ape had become the symbol of folly (see H.W. Janson, Apes and Ape Lore in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, London, 1955, p. 199). As the companion of fools, the creature would amuse and instruct by mirroring human manners. Their craving for fruit in fact associated them with the Fall of Man, and thus the monkey in art became a symbol of the sense of taste, as well as the vices of gluttony and intemperance.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY


    Literature

    W.B. Jordan, exhibition catalogue, Juan van der Hamen y León & the Court of Madrid, Yale, 2005, pp. 106-7, fig. 6.33.