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.

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Willem van Aelst, Dutch, 1627–after 1687
Hunt Still Life with a Velvet Bag on a Marble Ledge
c. 1665
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 26 1/2 × 21 1/4 in. (67.3 × 54 cm) Frame (outer): 34 3/4 × 29 3/4 × 2 1/2 in. (88.3 × 75.6 × 6.4 cm)
Credit Line

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston

Current Location
The Audrey Jones Beck Building
Accession Number

Collection of Major Alfred Wynne Corrie, Park Hall, Oswestry, England; private collection, Shropshire; [Johnny van Haeften, Ltd., London, 1992]; J. William Middendorf II; [Otto Naumann, Ltd., New York]; purchased by the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, 2002.