Object Image

Still Life with a Lobster

Although apparently casually displayed, the objects in this still life would immediately have suggested wealth and extravagance to a seventeenth-century viewer. The cloths have a satin-like sheen, and the objects on them are all expensive luxuries. They're carefully chosen, not just because they are rare and precious but because they proudly show how Dutch merchants brought exotic items from far-flung parts of the globe.

They also demonstrate Heda's skills in painting textures and objects projecting out of the picture towards us in subtle, rich colours. Embroidered onto the tablecloth is a cipher that seems to refer to a merchants' guild, perhaps implying that the painting was commissioned by ...

1650-9
Oil on canvas
114.0 x 103.0cm
NG5787
Image and text © The National Gallery, London, 2024

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