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Still Life with Silver by Alexandre François Desportes
Still Life with Silver by Alexandre François Desportes

Still Life with Silver, 1720

Alexandre François Desportes

An opulent buffet laden with fruit, flowers and decorative containers in silver, porcelain, and semi-precious stone seems ready for an open-air banquet. Mythical creatures abound, from the smiling bearded god adorned with roses at the top of the display, to the dragon-handles of the tureen at center, to two faun-like youths on the flasks in the foreground. The subject matter probably played to the artist’s strengths; he was trained as a painter of animals and hunting scenes, and was patronized by the French king. The artist’s opulent still-lifes are precious documents of Louis XIV’s lost silver; he ordered royal and aristocratic silver to be melted down to replenish the French royal treasury, which had been depleted by wars.

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Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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