De Heem was a Dutch artist who made this painting when the Netherlands (Dutch Republic) was at war with Spain



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De Heem was a Dutch artist who made this painting when the Netherlands (Dutch Republic) was at war with Spain.

  • De Heem was a Dutch artist who made this painting when the Netherlands (Dutch Republic) was at war with Spain.

  • The Netherlands was becoming very rich and powerful at this time, but it was also a Protestant country where large scale religious images were shunned in favour of small scale still life paintings in domestic settings rather than churches.

  • Although this painting is smaller and much more subdued than the grand religious paintings made by catholic artists, the objects in this painting would have all been extremely hard to source, and therefore very expensive – markers of status and wealth.





Bonvin was attached to the Realist movement – a group of painters who rejected the popular mythological, historical and religious subjects of the day in favour of scenes from everyday life. They wanted to portray the world around them as they saw it.

  • Bonvin was attached to the Realist movement – a group of painters who rejected the popular mythological, historical and religious subjects of the day in favour of scenes from everyday life. They wanted to portray the world around them as they saw it.

  • Mass produced tubes of paint had only recently been invented when this painting was made. Before that artists had to buy all their own raw materials which they then had to grind down and mix with linseed oil., then they stored their paints in pigs bladders! By including tubes of paint in this picture, Bonvin is proudly showing his audience what the modern-day materials of a painter look like.

  • Q. Do you think that Bonvin carefully arranged everything in this picture, or did he simply find these objects lying around in this way?

  • We know that Bonvin wanted to paint the world as he saw it – accurately - but he still probably arranged this still life scene very carefully. The addition of the rose suggests that the artist still feels connected to the more symbolic still life paintings that came before.

  • Q. When do people buy roses for each other? What do they symbolise?

  • Roses often symbolise love. Bonvin might have included one here as a reference to Louison Kohler, the woman who was his companion, model and muse for the last seventeen years of his life.













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