Seventeenth-Century Flemish Garland Paintings: Still Life, Vision, and the Devotional Image, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Seventeenth-Century Flemish Garland Paintings

Still Life, Vision, and the Devotional Image, 1st Edition

By Susan Merriam


220 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138250222
pub: 2016-10-14
Hardback: 9781409403050
pub: 2012-03-28

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Focusing on three celebrated northern European still life painters”Jan Brueghel, Daniel Seghers, and Jan Davidsz. de Heem”this book examines the emergence of the first garland painting in 1607-1608, and its subsequent transformation into a widely collected type of devotional image, curiosity, and decorative form. The first sustained study of the garland paintings, the book uses contextual and formal analysis to achieve two goals. One, it demonstrates how and why the paintings flourished in a number of contexts, ranging from an ecclesiastical center in Milan, to a Jesuit chapter house and private collections in Antwerp, to the Habsburg court in Vienna. Two, the book shows that when viewed over the course of the century, the images produced by Brueghel, Seghers and de Heem share important similarities, including an interest in self-referentiality and the exploration of pictorial form and materials. Using a range of evidence (inventories, period response, the paintings themselves), Susan Merriam shows how the pictures reconfigured the terms in which the devotional image was understood, and asked the viewer to consider in new ways how pictures are made and experienced.


'A thoughtful, well-researched, foundational contribution to the literature on still-life painting. Its treatment of the garland pictures in general, and three central artists in this genre more particularly, addresses a major lacuna in the scholarship.' Julie Hochstrasser, University of Iowa. Author of Still Life and Trade in the Dutch Golden Age

'Merriam's monograph offers an exemplary analysis of Flemish garland paintings, a perfect period case study of self-conscious illusion and representation itself during the 17th century. She also attends closely to how such pictures were received by their owners (Chapter 3), including their presence in local Antwerp inventories and their prominence in contemporary local gallery pictures of collection ensembles. Ashgate complement her insights with abundant colour images of these virtuoso pictures. Like 17th-century viewers, modern readers are encouraged to delight in both artistry and the visual world while using such hybrid imagery to contemplate greater matters.' Cassone

'… thorough, thoughtful account of these fascinating pictures…' Renaissance Quarterly

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Origins; Making and breaking: the garland pictures and iconoclasm; Interiors; Daniel Seghers: 'flower painter under God'; 'The cake idol': the Eucharist in a garland; Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Susan Merriam is Assistant Professor in the Division of the Arts at Bard College, USA.

About the Series

Visual Culture in Early Modernity

A forum for the critical inquiry of the visual arts in the early modern world, Visual Culture in Early Modernity promotes new models of inquiry and new narratives of early modern art and its history. We welcome proposals for both monographs and essay collections that consider the cultural production and reception of images and objects. The range of topics covered in this series includes, but is not limited to, painting, sculpture and architecture as well as material objects, such as domestic furnishings, religious and/or ritual accessories, costume, scientific/medical apparata, erotica, ephemera and printed matter. We seek innovative investigations of western and non-western visual culture produced between 1400 and 1800.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Renaissance