Abraham van Beyeren (Dutch, 1620/211690)
Oil on wood; 38 x 31 in. (96.5 x 78.7 cm)
Anonymous Gift, 1971 (1971.254)
Van Beyeren was mostly active in his native city of the Hague but he lived in nearby Delft from 1657 to 1663 and in Amsterdam from 1669 to 1674. He was obviously familiar with still-life painting in several art centers; in this panel of the 1650s, the composition and motifs recall Jan Davidsz. de Heem's approximately contemporary work in Antwerp, but the Rembrandtesque light is probably adopted from the celebrated Amsterdam specialist Willem Kalf. The exotic vessels and delicacies seem equally well suited to the tastes of Amsterdam patricians and of courtiers at the Hague. In this context, the watch, suggesting temperance, strikes one as an obligatory footnote. Van Beyeren's palette was usually understated but this painting has lost some local color with age.