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This object is being kept in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. It is a panel showing a scene with Pyramus and Thisbe; they are a pair of ill-fated lovers whose story forms part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The story has since been retold by many authors and has inspired many artists. The description is as follows: “Panel of black marble, inlaid with mother of pearl, ivory, and various types of marble. The blade is encased in an ebony frame and chamfered at the top corners. It shows in the foreground the dead Pyramus and Thisbe who stabs with a dagger. Right a fountain topped by a putto, left a tree. In the foreground, frogs, rabbits, beetles, a salamander and a snail. The background is treated like a starry sky, where insects, owls and a bat are flying; at right is the moon.” [1] This work was made by Dirk van Rijswijck in Amsterdam in 1659. This German artist, who was born in 1596, was specialised in this kind of art work.

1659_van Rijswijck BK-16468

In the foreground a rather stylised snail is seen in right-hand side view. The dextral shell is conical, the animal sketchy.

1659_van Rijswijck BK-16468_d

[1] RMA BK-16468. http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.67144.
[2] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/artists/257722.