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The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has an extensive collection of engravings, one of which is this one designed by Jacobus Kempener, entitled “Grotesque vase with flowers, including a sunflower” [1]. This engraver worked in Cologne, Germany, around 1650 [2]. Although this engraving has not been dated, it is probably from the mid-16th century (Sadeler, the publisher, died in 1665).

The interesting thing about this engraving is: it might have served as inspiration for the painted flower still-lives, which were later made manyfold, mainly in Flanders and Holland. For the first time we find here the association between a vase of flowers and snails. The two snails are mirrored, one dextral and one sinistral. Both are stylised, seemingly ribbed, and have two tentacles.


[1] RMA, RP-P-1965-1612. http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.416749 (permalink).
[2] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/artists/356592.