Still Life, 1638
The 17th-century Dutch viewer would have recognized this softly illuminated still life as a representation of wealth and prosperity. The artist demonstrates his skill at depicting the various textures and reflections on the surfaces of these luxury items: a half-filled wine vessel; a silver or pewter platter and overturned cup-on-stand; a small, Chinese porcelain bowl; and a lemon, with its elegantly spiraling peel. In the porcelain bowl are wild strawberries, a delicacy typically enjoyed with French wine. The recent and seemingly abrupt departure of the person enjoying this light meal suggests the theme of vanitas, reminding us of the fleeting nature of all wealth and pleasure in our mortal state.