Paulus Theodorus van Brussel’s arrangement of fruit and flowers reveals the eighteenth-century taste for paintings depicting the exotic and expensive set in artful disarray against the faint background of a garden. It’s a celebration of the bounty of nature and is, at the same time, an appealing way of showing prize specimens. It also demonstrates his skill in painting texture.
He has included poppies, hollyhocks and celosia, but the flowers – not as rare and pricey as they had been a century before the picture was painted – seem to take second place to the abundant fruits. These are mostly hothouse grown, and therefore costly: melons, black and translucent green grapes, peaches and a pineapple with its spiky crown at the top of the arrangement, almost seeming to float in space. Among them, busy insects – interesting specimens themselves – investigate the oozing juices, crisp leaves and fragrant petals.
Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.
License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.
This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.
Examples of non-commercial use are:
The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.
As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.
You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.