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In 1664 or 1665 Jan Davidsz. de Heem painted this work, which is now in the National Gallery, London. The arrangement includes oranges, cherries, sheaves of wheat and a snail on the ledge in the left foreground.


This snail is a naturalistically illustrated specimen of a Cepaea species, likely C. nemoralis (L., 1758).

Once attributed to the little-known David Jansz. de Heem, the painting is now being given to his more famous grandfather Jan Davidsz. de Heem, based on comparisons with other works by the artist. This attribution is further confirmed by recent conservation treatment which has revealed the signature of Jan Davidsz. de Heem.

Jan Davidsz de Heem was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in 1606. His father was a musician. His early style is reminiscent of Balthasar van der Ast, and in 1625 moved to Leiden. In the 1630s de Heem moved again, to Antwerp, and only returned to Utrecht for a few years in 1669. By 1672 he was back in Antwerp where he lived till his death in 1684.

[1] NGL, inv. NG2582. http://bit.ly/1nE1muJ.