Object Image

Signed and dated 1568, this masterfully composed view of a daily fish market represents the new genre of still-life painting, initiated by Joachim Beuckelaer and his teacher, Pieter Aertsen, who lived and worked in Antwerp. It was painted during the tumultuous times of the Iconoclasm (1566), which disrupted the art market and motivated a change from purely religious to more secular themes. Here the flourishing fish industry is celebrated through the display of the great bounty from the sea. Such pictures also increasingly embraced a moralizing subtext, warning against the excesses of food and sexual pleasures.

Credit: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Bequest of George Blumenthal, by exchange, 2015

Oil on baltic oak
128.6 x 174.9cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019

Where you'll find this

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Permanent collection