Wild Strawberries and a Carnation in a Wan-Li Bowl/ Jacob van Hulsdonck /1620/ oil on copper/ National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Jacob van Hulsdonck or Jan van Hulsdonck (1582, Antwerp – 1647, Antwerp), was a Flemish painter who played a role in the early development of the genre of still lifes of fruit, banquets and flowers.
Jacob van Hulsdonck drew much of his artistic inspiration from Jan Breughel the Elder (1568–1625) in Antwerp and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621) in Middelburg, yet he painted with a clarity of form and composition quite different from either of these masters. This small and exquisite painting, executed on copper, captures the very best qualities of Van Hulsdonck's work. Set atop a plain wooden table, a beautifully articulated Wan-Li bowl is filled with wild strawberries and adorned by a single carnation, dramatically silhouetted against a dark background.
Detail of painting
This unexpected element adds tension to the visually simple yet luscious composition. The cherries, red and white currants, and random water droplets arrayed on the table form a pattern of circles that echo the round forms of the strawberries and the bowl. The droplets reinforce the still life's sense of fleeting freshness, and the transience of the moment is heightened by the presence of the delicate butterfly that has just alighted on a leaf and by the fly feasting on a berry. Though simple in its composition, this striking image captures the viewer's attention with its bold color contrasts and delicacy of execution.
Prepared and arranged by: Narges Saheb Ekhtiari