Sunday, 1 June 2008

Osias Beert, the abundance and the beauty

Osias Beert The Elder was more realistically detailed. In Oysters Fruit and Wine, which he painted around 1620, he seems to want to convey a world of abundance and beauty. The eleven opened oysters are arranged on a pewter plate, strikingly and sensually realistic. Nearby, two shells emphasize the exceptional rarity of the foods in the expensive vessels arrayed on the table. Luxurious sweets decorated with gold leaf fill the Wan-li bowl in the foreground, while dried raisins, figs, and almonds overflow two other Ming period bowls. In the centre, elegant sweets, including candied cinnamon bark and candied almonds that have been coloured yellow, pink, and green, fill a ceramic tazza. Quince paste, which was stored in simple, round wooden boxes, was another delicacy enjoyed at special festivities. Both red and white wine are visible through the transparent glass of the elegant Venetian-style vessels made by Flemish craftsmen.