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Course: Europe 1300 - 1800 > Unit 9

Lesson 4: Dutch Republic

Osias Beert, Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table

Osias Beert, Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table, c. 1610, oil on canvas, 72.4 × 108.6 cm (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Osias Beert’s Still Life with Various Vessels on a Table exudes decadence, but what lies behind ornate display of pewter, oysters, blue-and-white porcelain, and sugary sweets? In this five-minute video, hear from Antien Knaap, assistant curator of Paintings, Art of Europe; and Mary Hicks, assistant professor of History at the University of Chicago, as they explore the impact of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade on 17th-century Dutch society—and how it manifested in art from the period.
Created by Smarthistory.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Liz  Eyres
    A really interesting presentation, thank you very much. At , when you say that two-thirds of the picture plane is taken up by sky, do you mean instead two-thirds of the picture space? The picture plane is, as I understand it, infinite in all directions and represents the theoretical "glass" plane of the "window" that we look though into the picture space. This plane usually also coincides with the surface of the support but, as I understood it, does not refer to what is depicted on it. By contrast the picture space is the illusion of space and depth created by the artist so it does link to what is represented. This probably a subtle difference but I would be interested to know your take on this since the picture plane is a tricky concept that I struggle to get across to my students. Thanks very much.
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript