Details

Title

Butterflies, Caterpillars, Other Insects, and Flowers

Artist/Maker

Jan van Kessel (Flemish, 1626–1679)

Date

1659

Medium

Oil on copper

Dimensions

4 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches

Credit

Purchase in memory of Dr. and Mrs. DeLos Lemuel Hill

Accession #

58.20

On View

On View - Stent Family Wing, Level 2, Gallery 204

Jan van Kessel’s paintings of natural specimens are scientifically accurate while retaining the spirit of living things. In this work, vivid spots, stripes, and distinctive markings—painted on copper for enhanced precision—stand out against a blank background. Instead of lining the specimens up in sterile rows, as was common in scientific illustrations, van Kessel created a delicate staging with attention to variety and balance. The artist’s scientific naturalism was informed by his studies with notable artists, including his uncle, Jan Brueghel the Younger.

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