(b. 1610, Paris, d. 1696, Paris)

Basket with Peaches and Grapes

Oil on wood, 48 x 68 cm
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

Louise Moillon was the most significant 17th-century French painter of still-lifes. She preferred to paint fruit and flower still-lifes. She painted mostly the motif of a fruit-laden plate or - as in this case - wicker basket on a table. Her colours were always cool, and she did not undergo any significant changes.

Peaches (Latin malum persicum) were regarded as a subspecies of apples in the 17th century and were associated with the same symbolism. However, it is unlikely that the artist intended any opposition between the 'Eucharistic' grapes and the peaches as a possible symbol of evil (malum). Rather, the co-occurrence of grapes and peaches was probably prompted by a theory of juices. According to this theory, peaches before a meal prevent drunkenness from excessive wine-drinking.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.