COORTE, Adriaen
(active 1683-1707 around Middelburg)

Still-Life with Sea Shells

Oil on paper laid down on board, 21 x 14 cm
Private collection

Coorte's known oeuvre consists of about sixty-four paintings. Many of his compositions depict natural objects set on a stone ledge against a dark background. In the oeuvre six other shell still-lifes are recorded, each dated between 1696-1698. They contain a varied assortment of shells which differ quite dramatically in colour and shape. Coorte takes a clinical approach to painting his still-life elements, and thus the shells in the present painting are easily identifiable. From left to right they are: Lambis lambis, Tonna tessellate, Natica or Nerita (?), Cittarium pica, and Cyphoma gibbosum.

Like the paintings themselves, the shells which served as the artist's subjects were objects of great rarity and desirability, which almost universally shipped from abroad by the Dutch East India and West India companies, and would have been collected for a Kunstkammer with a similar fervors to the paintings which depict them.

The painting is signed and dated lower left: A. Coorte 1696.

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