Fish Market

Joachim Beuckelaer Netherlandish

Not on view

The Met has long sought a great example of still-life painting prior to its development as an independent genre in seventeenth-century Holland. Along with his teacher, Pieter Aertsen (1507/8–1575), Beuckelaer became famous as a painter of scenes of everyday life that featured the bounty from land and sea available at local markets. Dispensing with a subordinate religious scene, this picture nonetheless embraces a moralizing subtext, warning against the excesses of food, drink, and sexual pleasures. Note that the fishmonger’s quizzical glance toward the housewife, who considers purchasing the succulent salmon steaks, is met with resolute rejection as she warily crosses her hands over her open vessel. The virtuoso brushwork, with extraordinary impasto and scratched-in passages, especially in the fish, has a remarkably modern sensibility.

Fish Market, Joachim Beuckelaer (Netherlandish, Antwerp 1533–1575 Antwerp), Oil on Baltic oak

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