In the MET, they currently have an exhibition for Dutch Masterpieces. Since many of these paintings are from the Golden Age, there were genre paintings, still life paintings, and landscape paintings. There were a few pieces that really stuck out in the way they depicted nature.
One of these is called Gamepiece with a Dead Heron, created by Jan Weenix in 1695.
In the MET description it says that this picture shows the aftermaths of a hunt “on a country estate.” “A heron and other dead birds spill out of a game bag next to a large neoclassical urn. The animal trophies figure as a natural feature of the courtly landscape, while the tumult of the hunt remains offstage. In the background, aristocratic figures stroll at the edge of an ornamental pond, complete with gliding swans” (MET).
This is a little gruesome because it’s depicting dead birds, but the use of delicate colors, and the lovely flowers make this painting that grabs your attention by its beauty.
Another work of art that stood out was Otto Marcus van Schrieck’s Still Life with Poppy, Insects, and Reptiles, created in 1670.
This painting is stunning. It’s simple and subtle, and it was small but showed extensive details. This painting seems dark, but light is included in random areas making the plant pop out. I will also include close up below that show the details of the insects included in this drawing:
When looking at this painting, it almost feels as though your in this place, crouching down towards to see the plant. Schrieck does a wonderful job in inviting the viewer into this work. In the MET description it says that: “This picture of the forest floor bristles with interactions between a lizard, snake, snails, and butterflies, all in the shadow of a poppy. Rather than painting flowers elegantly arranged in a vase, Marseus locates his blooms in a natural setting touched with an element of menace” (MET).
The third example, and my most favorite one, is Magareta Haverman’s Vase of Flowers, created in 1716.
I took about 20 pictures of this piece because it was so gorgeous. It states in the description that women at this time were unable to get nude models to work from, so many of them focused on still life paintings. This painting has a variety of different colors and types of flowers/food drawn into it. It is beautiful.
As any painter knows, this type of detail takes a significant amount of work and truly shows the brilliance of these three artists.