Grapes, Peaches, Hazelnuts And Redcurrants With A Brimstone Butterfly And A Bumblebee, Jan van KESSEL

Jan van KESSEL

Grapes, Peaches, Hazelnuts And Redcurrants With A Brimstone Butterfly And A Bumblebee


Oil on panel, 56.9 x 43 cm

Signed and dated “J. v. kesseL / 1655”,


Jan van Kessel the Elder was a Flemish painter who was active in Antwerp in the mid-17th century. He was born in Antwerp in 1626, the son of Hieronymus van Kessel the Younger and Paschasia Brueghel, the daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Van Kessel was a versatile artist who worked in a variety of genres, including flower still lifes, animal paintings, and allegorical compositions. He was particularly known for his detailed studies of insects, which were often inspired by the work of his grandfather.
Van Kessel was a member of the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke, and he was a successful painter during his lifetime. He was commissioned by a number of important patrons, including the Spanish king, Charles II. Today, works by this artist are present in a number of public museum collections such as Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, National Gallery, London, Museo del Prado, Madrid and others.

This still life, signed and dated “J. v. kesseL / 1655”, is part of an oeuvre of about thirty works that have been identified as Jan van Kessel’s. The painting presents an exceptionally luscious composition that spreads across the whole canvas, leaving room for nothing else but a huge piled arrangement of berries, nuts and fruits that seems to be bursting with its own opulence. At the same time insects characteristic to still lifes of that period remind of the temporality of this sensuous ripeness. As soon as something is born it starts its journey towards nonexistence; every moment of beauty is like a brief breath of air, full of contemplation about the life lived and about how and on what it is spent.

In this work the author demonstrates supreme understanding of the material. The intelligent contrasting and agreement of colours that allows the viewer to study all the pieces of fruit separately or as a whole, is fascinating. Each fruit and berry seems realistic and ready to be picked, as if the artist had captured their last sweetest moment, telling us to eat them now while they are fresh, and not later, as nothing earthly is everlasting.

Other Artworks

Did you like this? Share it!