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Probably by Jan Fyt, A Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game and a Parrot

Key facts
Full title A Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game and a Parrot
Artist Probably by Jan Fyt
Artist dates 1611 - 1661
Date made late 1640s
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 84.7 × 113.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Claude Dickason Rotch, 1962
Inventory number NG6335
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game and a Parrot
Probably by Jan Fyt

A hare’s carcass hangs from a fixing on a wall, a wound bloodying its soft, furry stomach. Its untethered leg flops lifelessly toward an overflowing basket of fruit, below which three dead birds – a brace of partridges and a jay – are displayed top-to-tail. A precious blue and white porcelain bowl containing strawberries is nestled in the pile of apricots, pears, peaches, plums and grapes, over which perches an African grey parrot. The bird playfully pinches a strand of the grape vine in its beak.

Although rather coarser than his usual work, the painting is probably by Jan Fyt, a Flemish still life, animal and flower painter. The artist has created a composition of opposites placed side by side: of flora and fauna, and of life and death. Though the exotic parrot, presumably a pet, is alive and well, we are reminded that it will eventually meet the same end as the game strung up and piled unceremoniously near it.

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