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100 Highlights
of the MFAH
Take a tour through some of the most significant objects in the MFAH collections. On these pages, you can browse 100 highlights from collections throughout the institution. Then visit the Museum in person to discover your own favorites.
Dutch, 1627 - after 1687
Hunt Still Life with a Velvet Bag on a Marble Ledge
c. 1665
Oil on canvas

26 1/2 x 21 1/4 inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

The paintings of Willem van Aelst were among the most prized in the Netherlands in the second half of the 17th century. He specialized in still lifes of hunting subjects and flowers, and his elegant game pictures depict close views of dead prey. They also include scrupulously painted guns, hunting bags and horns, bells, and other equipment of the sport, such as the red falcon’s hood hanging at the top of this painting.

The radiant blue game bag, embroidered with gold thread and decorated with gold fringe, is typical of Van Aelst’s lavish and startling use of ultramarine, which is practically a signature of his work. He generously employed this pigment made from lapis lazuli, imported from Asia and thus very expensive in Holland, to impart an air of luxury and sumptuousness to his paintings.