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Frans Francken the Younger (1581–1642) was a Flemish painter from Antwerp [1], and a member of a large family of artists [2]. He was a master in different generes, but the painting today pictures a collector’s gallery and is in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna [3]. This work is dated 1636.

GG_1048_Frans_Francken_(II),_Kunst-_und_Raritätenkammer_(1636)

On this painting many objects and several persons are to be seen. Besides several sea shells, the yellowish shell in the left-hand foreground attracted my attention. It is a sinistral shell, viewed from the ventral side; it has dark axial markings above the aperture. This is an Amphidromus species, originating from S.E. Asia.

GG_1048_d

There is a similar work of Francken dating from 1625, also said to be in the same collection [4]. Here the same species is pictured, but the style is somewhat coarser.

_Frans_Francken_(II),_A_Collector's_Cabinet_(1625)_d

Although there are slight differences in these shells, it is probable that Francken used the same specimen. These tropical shells were still rare at that time.

Notes:
[1] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/artists/29002.
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francken.
[3] KMW, inv. GG 1048. http://bilddatenbank.khm.at/viewArtefact?id=751.
[4] http://bit.ly/1jK3wss.

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