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The Poulterer's Shop

SNYDERS, Frans (1569 - 1657)

The Poulterer's Shop

Media: oil on canvas

Size: 188.1 x 152.0 cm

Acquired: 1998; Allocated in lieu of tax; H.M. Government

Accession Number: NMW A 12866

The elderly shopkeeper stares intently at the kitchen maid as she looks through his produce, pointing out what she desires.  In Antwerp at that time such scenes had a veiled erotic content.  The Flemish word for bird, vogel, has phallic associations, while vogelen (to bird) is slang for sexual intercourse.  Snyders specialized in still-life painting, focusing on detailed depictions of birds, vegetables and game.  X-ray photography indicates that the artist originally intended a pure still life dominated by a large hanging carcass of a roe buck. This was subsequently painted out, and the contours of the animal's front legs were transformed into the celery at the bottom left. The figures of the maid and the bearded man were added last, by a painter from Rubens's workshop.

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