Hendrik Schoock (1630-1707), Flowers, acquired 1834

Hendrik Schoock (1630-1707), Flowers, acquired 1834. Oil on canvas. 104 x 84 cm. KMS250.
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At first glance, Hendrik Schoock’s forest floor seems quite serene. Red peonies, white hollyhocks and blue irises grown among blackberries and many other plants. Hollyhocks lean up against a gnarled elderflower tree, which also lends support to a pumpkin plant whose tendrils reach up into the crown of the tree. The large leaves of the pumpkin outdo those of its host tree in size and brilliance, while the large, stripy pumpkins themselves are carried aloft by the old tree.

Beautiful impermanence
Within the moralist symbolic language of the times, the parasitic pumpkin plant was a symbol of fleeting happiness. An even clearer symbolic reference to the brevity of life can be seen in the action that takes place here: a pair of goldfinches have just left their nest, and in their absence a mouse is gorging on their eggs.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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