The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Still life with a Monkey
  • Attributed to Jan Jansz. de Heem (1650 - in or after 1695)
  • Still life with a Monkey
  • Southern Netherlands
  • c. 1670 - c. 1695
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 118 x 169.5 cm
    Frame size: 155 x 206 x 16 cm
  • Inscription: 'DE HEEM F.'
  • P76
  • Large Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • This ambitious composition is one of the finest works attributed to Jan Jansz. de Heem. The signature is uncharacteristic of any of the De Heem family and appears to have been restored. The inclusion of a live monkey with still-life elements imitates earlier Flemish still-life painters such as Snyders and Fyt. The profusion of fruit, vegetables, crustacea, glass, silver, and porcelain affords the artist the opportunity to display his considerable imitative skill. On a deeper level the subject may be seen as a celebration of the fruits of civilisation, trade, peace and prosperity with the inclusion of imported objects such as the Chinese porcelain bowls. In contrast, the viewer is reminded of the transitory nature of human life and the dangers of over-indulgence in material excess by the inclusion of the broken column and classical frieze.