"Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Pomegranate"
Jacob van Hulsdonck
Dutch, about 1620 - 1640
Oil on panel
16 1/2 x 19 1/2 in.
Jacob van Hulsdonck, the master of a prosperous studio specializing in still life painting, meticulously rendered every surface and texture of fruit, porcelain, and wooden tabletop in this painting. He was careful to paint the still life from a high vantage point so that most of the table and the bowl’s contents could be seen. Lemons, oranges, and a pomegranate, some split open to expose their succulent insides, rest in a Chinese blue-and-white porcelain bowl, dating from the Wan-Li period of the Ming dynasty.
The still life attests to the fragile and fleeting properties of the natural world. The dimpled skin of the lemons and oranges; the juicy, glistening insides of the pomegranate held gently together by the thin white tissue of the pulp; the leaves and blooms still attached to fruit; and the shiny droplets of water in the foreground are all brilliant, short-lived effects captured on canvas.