A Still Life with a Nautilus Cup
Leiden, Holland, 1632
Oil on wood
77.5 x 64.7 cm
The objects are arranged to demonstrate the artist’s skill in showing the play of light on different materials.
The focus is a precious drinking cup made from a nautilus shell. Around it, in a carefully planned disorder, are silver vessels which set up a series of complex reflections. These hard forms are contrasted with the different textures of a bunch of grapes, walnuts and a lemon – cut and peeled. De Heem achieved his astonishing illusion with only a few colours.
Purchased 1941 (No.41.2)