Collection

Joannes Baers
Joannes Baers

Joannes Baers

tätig vor 1618 bis nach 1641

Still Life with Fruit, 1628
Oil on wood / 35.5 x 50 cm
Signed on lower left: Bae.s. 1628
Inv. no. D1384 / Dr. Clemens Sels Collection

The fruit still life by Joannes Baers is a true rarity for the museum. Only few works have been definitively ascribed to this Dutch master who became a member of St. Luke's Guild in Antwerp around 1619. Baers enlivened his small-format, detailed compositions of fruit and flowers with a number of flying insects, beetles and spiders. These animals are not only signs of natural decay, a process that points in the sense of a ‘memento mori’ (‘remember you will die’) to the transience of all earthly beauty. As well as testifying to highly detailed nature studies on the part of the artist, they are also well-known symbols of traditional Christian iconography. The motif of caterpillar and butterfly stands for the hope of redemption and the resurrection while the fly and dragonfly were considered creatures of the devil and temptation. The grasshopper is not only an allegory of gluttony, but recalls one of the ten Plagues of Egypt sent by God, thus symbolizing the victory of Christianity over heathenism.