Still Life with the Four Elements

Jacques Linard (French, 1600-1645)

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The belief that all matter consists of four elements (fire, earth, air, water) is of classical origin. In the 17th century it was not uncommon to symbolize the elements by making reference to the natural world. In this painting, fire is symbolized by the brazier, earth by the flowers and fruit, air by the birds in the window, and water by the plate of oysters.

Antonini collection, Paris, France. {1} Private collection, Paris. {2} (Newhouse Galleries, New York, New York); {3} purchased for the Art Association of Indianapolis, Indiana, John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, in 1954 (55.8).

{1} Possibly Annibale Antonini [1702-1753].
{2} According to Newhouse Galleries dossier in IMA historical file (55.8).
{3} Newhouse Galleries label, No. 15209.

Object Information

Jacques Linard (French, 1600-1645)
creation date
about 1640
oil on panel
19-1/8 x 25-3/8 in.
accession number
credit line
James E. Roberts Fund and Gift of Dr. and Mrs. George Henry Alexander Clowes
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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