Joannes Baers (before 1618 – after 1641)
The “Still Life with Fruit” by Joannes Baers provides the Clemens Sels Museum with a true rarity. Only very few works have been definitively ascribed to this Dutch "Kleinmeister" who became a member of St. Luke's Guild in Antwerp around 1619. Baers enlivened his detailed, small-format compositions of fruit and flowers with a number of insects, beetles and spiders. These animals are not only clear signs of natural decay, a process that points in the sense of a memento mori (roughly translated from latin "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. The locust is not only an allegory of gluttony, but refers to one of the ten Plagues of Egypt sent by God, and symbolizes the victory of Christianity over the heathens.