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The Fish Market
Philippe Rousseau
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An enormous, almost grotesque pile of fish is brilliantly illuminated amid the gloom of its surroundings. The heap seems to consist mainly of skate, but propped up against it is what may be a red mullet. Other highlighted objects break up the gloom, from the saucepan hanging up at the right to the brass interior of the basin propped up underneath, but the combination of pillars, low ceiling and dark brown tones makes for a claustrophobic scene. In the shadows to the left, a woman at the far end of the table is gutting a fish. Through openings at the back the white coiffed hats of further women can be glimpsed.

Philippe Rousseau was a great exponent of still-life painting, from flowers and food to kitchen utensils. He was influenced both by the French eighteenth-century artist Chardin and by earlier Flemish market scenes featuring prominent and detailed foreground still lifes.

Key facts
Artist Philippe Rousseau
Artist dates 1816 - 1887
Full title The Fish Market
Date made probably about 1834-50
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 23.8 x 34.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by Henry L. Florence, 1909
Inventory number NG2480
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings after 1600
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