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Jan Roos, Still Life of Fruit and Vegetables with Two Monkeys

Key facts
Full title Still Life of Fruit and Vegetables with Two Monkeys
Artist Jan Roos
Artist dates 1591 - 1638
Date made about 1620
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 102.9 × 135.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Miss Emily Jane Wood at the wish of her uncle, Decimus Burton, 1888
Inventory number NG1252
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Still Life of Fruit and Vegetables with Two Monkeys
Jan Roos

A monkey pauses while picking peaches from a pile of fruit to snarl viciously at another monkey gazing longingly at the hoard. The setting is ambiguous: the rich display of corn, grapes, apples, pears, quinces and peaches is positioned on a stone ledge and overflows onto a smooth floor, where two suggestively shaped gourds are prominently positioned. Monkeys were sometimes kept as exotic pets, so this scene might depict the discovery of fruit in store ahead of a stately banquet.

The composition is derived from the work of the Flemish hunt, animal and still-life painter Frans Snijders, to whom this picture was once attributed, but the lesser quality of its execution points to the work of Snijders' pupil Jan Roos. It was probably painted in Genoa where, having found high demand for his work, Roos settled permanently from 1616.

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