- Adriaen Coorte
- Still life of an earthenware bowl of wild strawberries, a bundle of asparagus and sprigs of gooseberry and redcurrants, all on a stone ledge with a pale blue butterfly above
- signed and dated lower centre: A . Coorte . 1689 .
- oil on canvas, reduced at the sides and the top
Thence by decent to the present owners.
Coorte often painted butterflies in his still lifes, but the small blue example seen here (it is not possible to be sure which species of blue butterfly it is but it may be the Adonis Blue, a littoral species found in Zeeland) occurs in only one other, a work on canvas dated 1687 in an English private collection.3 Although we call the fruit on the earthenware pot "wild" strawberries (Fragaria vesca), they were in Coorte's day the standard type under cultivation. They, green asparagus, gooseberries and redcurrants are all ready for eating at the same time of year in mid-summer; unlike his contemporaries who painted fruit and flower still lifes, Coorte did not depict produce that was ripe or in bloom at different times of the year. Middelburg, where he lived, was famous in his day for its nurseries which were planted in the rich alluvial soil on which the city rests.
1. See Q. Buvelot, The still lifes of Adriaen Coorte, exhibition catalogue, Zwolle 2008, pp. 32, 84-6, no. 4, reproduced in colour p. 44, fig. 33, and p. 85.
2. Idem, p. 110, no. 49, reproduced in colour p. 111.
3. Idem, p. 88, no. 9, reproduced in colour p. 36, fig. 25, & p. 37.