Still Life with Fowl, Willem van Aelst, 1658
Two dead roosters, a water rail and a kingfisher hang upside down from cords above a marble slab. There are a couple of flies on them: are they painted or real? Van Aelst not only imitated what he saw, he transformed it into an elegant composition. The subtle grey, violet and blue hues make this a special painting, one that was a sought-after collector’s item already in the painter’s time.