Jan Davidsz de Heem (Dutch, Utrecht 1606–1683/84 Antwerp)
probably ca. 1640–41
Oil on canvas
53 1/4 x 73 in. (135.3 x 185.4 cm)
Charles B. Curtis Fund, 1912
Not on view
The attribution of this large and luxurious still life has gone back and forth between Jan de Heem and his followers, but the painting was most likely painted by De Heem himself about 1640–41 in Antwerp, where he moved from Leiden in the mid-1630s. The scale, palatial setting, and oversized motifs are consistent with Flemish taste. The provincial clock intrudes with its unwelcome message (life is fleeting), like a country preacher sitting down to dinner at Versailles.
Inscription: Inscribed: (lower left) DeHeem fc; (on napkin) JDH [monogram]
[Horace Buttery, London, until 1912; sold to MMA]
Corning, N.Y. Corning Museum of Glass. "Glass Vessels in Dutch Painting of the 17th Century," August 15–October 1, 1952, no. 8 (of paintings).
New Orleans. Isaac Delgado Museum of Art. "Fêtes de la palette: An Exhibition of European Paintings and Decorative Arts from the Mid-sixteenth through the Mid-eighteenth Century Dedicated to the 'Delights of the Bountiful Table'," Thanksgiving 1962–Twelfth Night 1963, no. 34.
Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 28).
Bronx County Courthouse. "Paintings from the Metropolitan, Pinturas del Metropolitano," May 12–June 13, 1971, no. 25.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
B[ryson]. B[urroughs]. "Three Still Life Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 7 (December 1912), p. 229, interprets the conspicuous display of sumptuous materials in this painting as a way for the artists of such still-life paintings to show "their scorn of difficulties and their skill in overcoming them".
Alphonsus Petrus Antonius Vorenkamp. Bijdrage tot de Geschiedenis van het hollandsch Stilleven in de zeventiende Eeuw. PhD diss., Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden. Leiden, 1933, p. 45, compares it with other works by De Heem.
Edith Greindl. Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle. Brussels, 1956, pp. 103, 173.
A[lbert]. P. de Mirimonde. "Musique et symbolisme chez Jan-Davidszoon de Heem, Cornelis-Janszoon et Jan II Janszoon de Heem." Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1970), p. 285, fig. 40, as by J. D. de Heem; associates it with a group of works dating from the 1640s.
Richard D. Leppert. The Theme of Music in Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Munich, 1977, vol. 2, col. 64, no. 268, as by Jan Davidsz. de Heem.
Edith Greindl. Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle. Sterrebeek, 1983, pp. 124, 361, no. 99, describes this as a typical composition by Jan Davidsz. de Heem.
Erik Larsen. Seventeenth-Century Flemish Painting. Freren, Germany, 1985, pp. 309–10, fig. 240, as by Jan Davidsz. de Heem; calls it a "good example of the sumptuousness of his style".
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 190, calls it a "Flemish style, horizontally arranged banquet piece" by Jan Davidsz. de Heem.
Walter Liedtke. "Addenda to 'Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art'." Metropolitan Museum Journal 27 (1992), p. 112–15, fig. 10, following the advice of Ingvar Bergström and Sam Segal, attributes the painting to Jan Jansz. de Heem, and suggests a date in the 1670s.
Fred G. Meijer. Letter to Walter Liedtke. February 13, 1995, believes that it is an autograph work of Jan Davidsz. de Heem, datable to about 1640 or slightly earlier.
Fred G. Meijer. Letter to Walter Liedtke. September 2, 1998, is convinced that this painting is "without a shadow of a doubt" by Jan Davidsz. de Heem; dates it to 1639 or 1640; suggests that it may be one of the earliest of this type.
Susan Miller. E-mail to Walter Liedtke. April 1, 2002, believes the blue and white jug in the painting is probably German stoneware of about the sixteenth century, and that its twisted handle is modeled on a glass handle.
William Andrewes. E-mail to Walter Liedtke. January 22, 2002, discusses the clock included in the painting, concluding that it probably dates from the mid- to late-seventeenth century, and that it is unusually primitive in design and construction, suggesting that was made in a provincial area of The Netherlands.
Walter Liedtke. "Toward a New Edition of Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Munuscula Amicorum: Contributions on Rubens and His Colleagues in Honour of Hans Vlieghe. Ed. Katlijne van der Stighelen. Vol. 2, Turnhout, Belgium, 2006, pp. 669, 677 n. 9.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. xi, 31, 318–22, no. 75, colorpl. 75, fig. 83 (color detail).