Still Life

Creation date
oil on canvas
32-11/16 x 37-13/16 in.
Credit line
Gift in memory of Estelle Burpee Chambers by her family and friends
Accession number
Not Currently On View

Matthias Withoos is best known for paintings that depict the plants and animals of the forest floor. In this work, cultivated plants like roses and lilies are combined with weeds and brambles and displayed against the backdrop of a distant landscape. The dense undergrowth shelters a lizard, a mouse, and a hedgehog.

The artist's selection of certain plants conveys an explicit religious message. The pink roses and white lilies symbolize the purity of the Virgin, while the thistles, blackberries, and other spiny plants refer to Christ's crown of thorns. A single stalk of wheat alludes to the bread of the Mass.

Cornelius Du Bois Wagstaff [1845-1919], Long Island, New York.{1} National Society of Colonial Dames, New York;{2} (S. Nystad oude kunst b.v., The Hague); purchased for the Indianapolis Museum of Art with funds from the family and friends of Estelle Burpee Chambers in 1980 (80.18). [3}

{1} This information was provided by S. Nystad in correspondence dated 22 April 1980 (see IMA Historical File 80.18).
{2} Ibid.
{3} Bill of sale in IMA Historical File 80.18.
Reproduction of these images, including downloading, is prohibited without written authorization from VAGA.

350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
Tel: 212-736-6666
Fax: 212-736-6767