Lot 47
  • 47

Otto Marseus van Schriek, called Snuffelaer

80,000 - 120,000 USD
125,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Otto Marseus van Schriek, called Snuffelaer
  • Forest floor still life with flowers, mushrooms, butterflies, a snake, a frog, and a dragonfly
  • oil on canvas
  • 30 1/4  by 26 3/4  in.; 76.8 by 68 cm.


Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 25 May 2000, lot 40, where acquired.

Catalogue Note

Otto Marseus van Schrieck was one of the leading painters of the “forest floor” still life. Depicting with meticulous detail the creatures and plants of the forest undergrowth, often in nocturnal settings, this sub-genre had a great vogue in the mid-17th century.

Marseus is thought to have trained in Amsterdam and is known to have traveled to England, France and Italy where he worked for Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II de Medici. After his return to Amsterdam, he established his “Waterrijck,” or wetlands in the rural surroundings of Diemen where he cultivated plants and insects for his own study.1  His nickname Snuffelaer—the sniffer—was a reflection of his inquisitive nature.  In this painting we see a variety of mushrooms and flowers, including morning glories and a tulip, a frog, a snake and various butterflies.  The motif of the snake eating the butterfly, and the decaying vegetation are probably allusions to the transience of life.

Fred G. Meijer of the RKD, The Hague has seen this painting firsthand and confirmed the attribution.

1.  See A. van der Willigen and F.G. Meijer, A Dictionary of Dutch and Flemish Still-life Painters Working in Oils, 1525-1725, Leiden 2003, p. 139.