Still Life

Edwaert Colyer (Dutch, about 1640-about 1707)

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Edwaert Colyer was a specialist in trompe l'oeil compositions like this one, designed to fool the eye with its convincing illusion of reality.

The letter rack holds papers that relate to important political events during the reign of William III of England. There is a copy of the king's speech to Parliament following a failed attempt to assassinate him and a paper that alludes to the Treaty of Turin (1696), which precipitated the collapse of the Grand Alliance against the French. Another folded paper is inscribed with the artist's name. The painting can perhaps be understood as a comment on the fleeting nature of earthly power.

Object Information

Edwaert Colyer (Dutch, about 1640-about 1707)
creation date
about 1696
oil on canvas
19-1/8 x 24-1/4 in.
27 x 33 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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