You are on page 1of 7



Research Paper
Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine
By Osias Beert the Elder
Flemish, c. 1580 - 1624

National Gallery of Art

Osias Beert
the Elder
Flemish, c.
1580 - 1624
Dishes with
Fruit, and
Wine, c.
oil on panel,
52.9 x 73.4
cm (20
13/16 x 28
7/8 in.)
I. Location
This painting is located in the West main Floor Gallery 44 next to other works
such as Flowers in a Basket and a Vase which is another oil painting by Brueghel the
Elder, Jan., and it is close to the Agrippina and Germanicus painting by Rubens, Peter
Paul. The painting has a Dark brown frame and a wall on a wall red with some
curvilinear stripes.

II. Reaction
I was unlucky to go the same day to the museum with the class; hence, I went a
week later because of the assignment, and because some commentaries I received
from classmates who told me that I should go by myself to enjoy the pieces of artwork,
and exhibitions. I have been in almost all the museums of the Smithsonian institution,
but never in the National Gallery of Art. Once, I entered into this building that looks like
a Roman Temple with Ionics columns; I thought this is going to be interesting. I decided
to go directly to find the paintings I studied in class such as the Johannes Vermeer
painting called Woman Holding a Balance, and I started my journey within the
museum. Personally, I considered the museum as one of the best because it has
remarkable artworks that are important in Art History. I chose the Still life painting
because it was something new as knowledge, and also, because I learned that this style
was believed that some of its elements such as foodstuffs and other items illustrated
there would, in the afterlife, become real and available for use by the deceased.

Still life is a word that started to be used in the mid 17 th century, and that comes
across in Dutch records. The still life is a type of painting and drawing, standing
alongside portraits, landscapes, etc., as a distinct subtype of representative art. Besides
that, still life art works can be seen in vase paintings, watercolors, drawings, etchings,
and photography, for instance and in oil. A still life presents a display of objects,
typically arranged on a table in an interior space. The objects seem still untaken, in the
common sense of unmoving. In the 17th century, the art of producing a representation
which can play with the eye was still work fiction. Hence, the Dutch perfected Italian
techniques of perspective drawing and advanced techniques in application of painting to

produce exact representations of objects, in this case a display of food. Paintings of

food and drink, collected by wealthy merchants and others prosperous
citizens, show the tastes and abundance of the period because Dutch were proud of
their wealth.
The Dishes with Oysters, fruits and wine painting is a still life example of a
banquet piece that produce obsessively exact representations of objects. The author
Osias Beert the Elder, Flemish painter, was one of the pioneers of still life painting and
a highly respected artist. In his still life composition called Dishes with Oysters, fruits,
and wine. This composition is a display showing some oysters known as expensive
food, plus fruits and wine which makes this painting a prove of unprecedented wealth.
Oysters were catalogued as erotic - vaginal - symbols. Here, however, they also had the
religious symbolism of shell, The shell is symbolically likened to Mary who gave birth to
the 'pearl of great price,' Jesus.
If one want to compare the composition, theme, and style, Van Schootens Breakfast
(Ontbijt) c. 1640 is a perfect example of another still life composition with a similar
genre. The play of light, color and texture makes this scene distinctive from this genre.

In this case the meal is set not for a party but for a lonely diner, changing the mood of
the piece by a degree from celebratory to serious. Once again there is tension of
themes; a knife figures outstandingly (a hint of morbidity), and the broken crust of the
mince pie suggests the perish of the body. On the opposite, Picasso, with his Still life
display is a completely different approach style to the objects. Here, color geometrical
objects and cubism itself produce a different sensation because the objects are broken
up analyzed and re-assembled in an abstracted forminstead of depicting objects from
one viewpoint.

Bread, Fruit and Table. (1908) Picasso

In conclusion, Internet searching helps significantly to find specific information

related with the period of time, or some other painters that used the same style. It is a
valuable supplement because with it you can make your work more complete and
profound, because you can obtain more information from various sources, and
understand better a point of view, an idea or a description of an art work. In order to
preserve artworks and their history, internet play an important role. Why? Because any
person have the possibility to know about a piece of art without going to the exact place
where it is placed or without destroying it. Sometimes, there are some art pieces in
exterior places that are damaged because of public visitants. Hence, it is a good way to
protect, preserve, and exhibit invaluable artworks. I might say that using internet to
make my research, and the fact of not being able to use my book often complicates the


About Pablo Picasso and his Modern Art Paintings Masterpiece

Paintings Gallery. 2008. 25 April 2008 <>

Eyeconart: Cubism. 2008. 25


The Guide to Great Art on Internet. ArtCyclopedia. 2007. 25 April

2008 <>