Northern Mannerism and Still-life Painting
Northern Mannerist painters depicted biblical and mythological subjects using dynamic compositions, virtuoso light effects, and idealised figures in contorted poses. One of the most sophisticated artists working in this genre was Joachim Wtewael. These richly detailed paintings, often set in lush landscapes, influenced the development of several genres at the turn of the 17th century including still life, also featured in this room.
Once still life developed into an independent genre, several subspecialities emerged. Ambrosius Bosschaert excelled at painting lavish bouquets bursting with an array of exotic species; the detailed realism of each individual flower masks the conceit that they were not in bloom during the same season. Collectors delighted in such fictional flower arrangements and paid high sums for them. Other favourite subspecialities were fish and dead game, examples of which are also shown here.