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Postcard - Abraham van Beyeren - Banquet Still Life, between 1650 and 1660

Postcard - Abraham van Beyeren - Banquet Still Life, between 1650 and 1660

Size: 6 x 8.5 inches

Specialists in monochrome banquet still lifes, Dutch painters took their inspiration from herbaria and cabinets of curiosities, enriched through the country’s colonies and imports. Van Beyeren created works depicting sumptuously laden tables in an expanded palette, their splendour rivalling their virtuosity. Remarkable for the refinement of its execution, this Banquet Still Life is typical of the oeuvre of Van Beyeren, a master at rendering shimmering textures and gleaming silverware.


This richly coloured work featuring the remains of a lavish lunch shows choice foods—red, green and purple grapes, peaches cut in half, a peeled lemon and a small pumpkin—the quintessence of luxury and sensual pleasure. The extravagant setting combines natural and cultural wealth. Diffuse light brings out the shine of the silverware and the transparency of the glass objects, helping to enhance every element of the composition.

Beaulieu, who holds a B.A. in Visual and Media Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal, was awarded the Integration of Art and Architecture Prize for this installation commissioned for the MMFA’s Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace. Beaulieu is a multidisciplinary artist with a strong interest in the relationships that exist between human beings and the elusive forces that surround them. The creator of many works of public art, he has exhibited in individual and group shows both in Canada and abroad. Over the past dozen years, his desire for travel and new encounters has been the driving force behind his work. He has travelled throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia in the company of authors, philosophers and landscape architects. These excursions have lead him on far-ranging odysseys that involved, for example, tracking the migration of Monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico (Vecteur Monarque, 2007) and following the prevailing winds of North America as part of an intercontinental trek (Ventury, 2010). His body of work includes sculptures, videos, installations and site-specific/in socius performances.


Viewers of this work made up of 1111 migratory birds enjoy a contemplative experience. The birds’ airborne choreography is rendered in sparkling coloured metals: blue aluminum for starlings, gilded brass for swallows, and pink copper for geese. It maps out Beaulieu’s quest for the invisible yet very real flights of these species we see around us day to day. The light that rakes across them accentuates the dynamic quality of their migratory acrobatics.

Abraham van Beyeren (1620/21-1690), Nature morte de banquet / Banquet Still Life, entre 1650 et 1660 / between 1650 and 1660.
Don de M. et Mme Michal Hornstein / Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michal Hornstein.
Photo MBAM / MMFA, Denis Farley

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