Joris Van Son (attributed to)
Antwerp 1623 - Antwerp 1667
"Still life with fruit on an entablature with medallion"
17th century Flemish school
Oil on canvas, 59 cm x 72 cm
18th century carved gilded wood frame
Description of the picture:
Above a stone entablature, the painting, in extremely fresh colors, represents a garland of fruit surrounded by scrolls, decorated with a niche. The entablature and scrolls are largely dark gray, barely standing out against the background. This balanced composition highlights all the fruits that are at the center of our attention.
The fruits are arranged in three groups: light red grapes and apples; translucent grapes accompanied by peaches and figs; then pears, pomegranates and quinces.
Thin branches of gooseberries, cherries, strawberries and grape leaves grow up and down from the wreath.
In this beautifully crafted painting, the fruits with light reflections are masterfully painted. Joris van Son was able to create a contrast between the background and the subtle colors of the fruits. This gives the composition a very great realism, a precise and neat invoice.
In accordance with iconographic meanings, which have developed since the end of the Middle Ages, certain fruits evoke Christian values: cherries, like strawberries, are considered fruits of paradise but they also refer by their red color, to the future Passion of Jesus Christ. Peaches symbolically designate Mary's virginity, but also the heart and the truth. In the Bible, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge and at the same time the symbol of the fall of man. A negative symbol for Adam and Eve, it becomes a positive symbol when it is associated with the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, and with Jesus Christ, the New Adam. In the hands of the Child Jesus, it evokes the redemption of humanity by Christ. The grapes symbolize, by their colors, the Passion of Christ. In the New Testament, grapes are mainly presented as the origin of wine. The fig refers to the sense of taste and evokes the Old Testament in that it is the fruit of the tree of the leaves from which Adam and Eve cover their nakedness after original sin. The fig is also etymologically linked to fertility, in particular because of the large amount of fruit that the fig tree gives three times a year. By its softness, it can also symbolize the sweetness of the spirit. It represents the religious man because under his rough and unattractive skin hides a soft pulp like the virtues. Quince sharpens the spirit and its scent protects against poisons. Pears are associated with the Virgin Mary and the Child Jesus, and with the sweetness of virtue. Finally, the pomegranate is a reference to fertility of which it is the symbol because of its mythological origin and the profusion of its grains as numerous as are the good works and the virtues.
The painting is of great aesthetic quality, and it is also, with the context of the time, the bearer of Christian values: "To entertain the eye without leading astray the mind".
The transparencies, nuanced lighting, chiaroscuro, balance, harmony, and refinement of this painting make this still life incredibly present to the viewer.
Joris van Son was born in Antwerp as the son of Joris and Catharina Formenois and was baptized on September 24, 1623 in the cathedral of Antwerp. His work shows a strong influence of Jan Davidszoon de Heem, a Dutch still life painter active in Antwerp from the mid-1630s. This may indicate that Joris van Son studied with de Heem or was an assistant in de Heem's studio. Heem. He became master in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp in the years 1643/1644.
On October 22, 1656, Joris van Son married Cornelia van Heulens. From this union will be born three children: Cornelia van Heulens born August 3, 1656 (the painter of still lifes Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Elder was his godfather), a son, named Jan Frans, born in 1658, then the last child of the couple, called Maria Chatharina, was baptized on October 5, 1660.
Van Son's work was highly regarded by collectors, and his paintings were in the collections of artists such as Victor Wolfvoet and traders such as Geraert van Dorth. Van Son's pupils were Frans van Everbroeck, Jan Pauwel Gillemans the Younger, Cornelis van Huynen, Norbert Montalie and Abraham Herderwijn (Aberam Herderwyn).
Joris van Son died prematurely at the age of 44. He fell suddenly ill in May 1667 and died in his hometown where he was buried on June 25, 1667.
Joris van Son is a painter specializing in still lifes of fruits, flowers, banquets, vanities, but also paintings of garlands and pronkstillevens, that is to say sumptuous still lifes of luxurious objects. He is known to have painted still lifes of fish representing the four elements. Van Son's still lifes almost always include fruit, often of varieties that are not native but imported. His still lifes are animated with branches of cherries or raspberries, which give the composition a great lightness. The objects are distributed on a table or a ledge on one level in order to create an intimacy with the viewer.
Another important part of van Son's production falls under the category of “garland paintings”. Garland paintings are a type of still life invented at the beginning of the 17th century in Antwerp by Jan Brueghel the Elder and subsequently practiced by great Flemish still life painters, and in particular Daniel Seghers. Paintings of this genre usually show a flower or, less frequently, a garland of fruit around a devotional image or portrait. In the further development of the genre, the image of devotion is replaced by other subjects such as portraits, mythological subjects and allegorical scenes.
Van Son painted garlands of flowers and fruits and sometimes a combination of both, the upper part being made of flowers and the lower part of fruits or vice versa. The fruits and flowers of these compositions are grouped in groups attached to sculptural frames. His flower garlands reveal the influence of Daniel Seghers, although conceptually his work is closer to that of Jan Davidsz de Heem who is presumed by some art historians to have been his teacher. The light of van Son's work is softer than that of de Heem's work. Van Son was particularly skilled in rendering the physical qualities of the skin of the fruit, as evidenced by the hairiness of the peaches in his compositions.