This sumptuous still life was once attributed to the French painter Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, but was recognized in 2000 as a typical work by the Fleming Jean-Michel Picart, who moved to Paris around 1638 and established a lucrative career there. Along with many other artist emigrés from his native country, Picart lived in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, where he worked primarily on lush flower and fruit pictures. The present work shows Picart at his best: dramatically lit by a shaft of light from upper left, the various blossoms tremble with life. The beautifully painted bronze vase that holds them - its underside reflecting the soft grey of the carved table on which it sits - features a pattern of cast leaves, giving an elegant continuity to the whole array. The insistent solidity of these sculpted motifs also provides a compelling contrast to the living flowers above, and may allude to the transience of this delicate display, a message which is underscored by the petals that have already fallen from their stems to the ledge below.