AST, Balthasar van der
(b. 1594, Middelburg, d. 1657, Delft)
Still-Life with Plums, Cherries, and Shellsc. 1628
Pen and watercolor, 291 x 399 mm
British Museum, London
While the careers of many Dutch artists can be followed through a large number of drawings as well as paintings, that is not the case with Balthasar van der Ast. Of his drawings we know one large series of works perhaps made over a period of several years, a sheet of still-life in the British Museum, London, and scarcely anything else. The series of drawings served Van der Ast as a source of motifs for a number of his paintings. The British Museum's still-life was obviously not meant as a study but as a finished product. The delicately balanced arrangement of fruit and shells laid out more or less parallel to the picture plane and the placement of insects lend the work an airy, decorative quality.