An iris and three roses in an earthenware pot

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Jacob van Es painted nothing but still lifes, albeit in all kinds of forms. There are hardly any true flower still lifes in his oeuvre, however, and the sublime little painting in the Frits Lugt Collection is the very best of the five or six he did paint. The extreme simplicity of the arrangement, the few, yet perfectly harmonized shades and the firm brushstroke, which points to a spontaneous method of working, actually make the panel exceptional in Flemish still life painting as a whole. The muted palette may indicate that it was created around 1630. Van Es hardly ever dated his paintings, and we know next to nothing about his life.

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