Jan van de Velde was an Amsterdam artist who specialised in still-life painting. His compositions were simple, like this arrangement of glass, oysters and lemons. The knife handle protruding from the table was designed to demonstrate his skill in showing perspective.
A seventeenth-century Dutch still life was intended as a decorative picture for the home, but also as a celebration of the exotic items that were available in the newly prosperous country. The oysters came fresh from the seas around Holland but lemons were a Mediterranean fruit, by this time grown in local hothouses that were expensive to run. The green glass roemer (the heavy wine goblet with buttons of glass on the stem) was also a costly item.
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