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Jan Jansz. Treck: 'Still Life with a Pewter Flagon and Two Ming Bowls'

The muted tones and sombre composition of this still life play down the sumptuousness of the precious objects on display. The two bowls are late Ming blue and white, of a type first imported into Holland not long before this picture was painted. The blue has discoloured over the years because the artist used smalt, a chemically unstable pigment.

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