Flower Study

Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer, After

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in Holland in circa 1629.
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Object Detail

1158 x 950mm
oil on canvas
In Holland during the Seventeenth-Century, and in the wake of the Reformation, still life painting was immensely popular. The Reformation was a schism within Western Christianity in the Sixteenth Century which saw the creation of the Protestant Church. This new religious movement striped traditional Catholic ornamentation and portraiture from Churches and homes, thus depriving artists of their main source of commissions. To counter this artists’ turned to painting flowers and interiors, infusing them with symbolic meaning. Still life paintings (images of fruit, flowers and inanimate objects) often evoke death and the impermanence of life, the beauty of a flower in the process of dying as it wilts in a vase. Some flowers are tightly coiled buds ready to bloom, or are vibrant with their heads full, while others are drooping or falling to the table below. Flowers themselves have strong symbolism and allegorical meanings. In this painting we see a vast array of blooms, including lilies which traditionally mean purity and roses which in the Seventeenth-Century symbolised beauty. With its exquisite detail this masterful work of art by Jan Baptiste is an example of still life painting at its finest. What sets this painting apart from other works of its ilk is the inclusion of a background landscape. A still life is almost universally painted as an interior scene and the blending of art genres makes Jan Baptiste’s Flower Study all the more fascinating.
- Chronicle article, Sarah McClintock, April 2013
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of Mrs P. Riddiford, 1964.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
07 Apr 1964