Still Life with a Vase of Flowers and a Dead Frog, Jacob Marrel, 1634
Jacob Marrel’s specialized in ‘portraits’ of tulips in bloom. Tulip bulbs were collected fanatically in 17th-century Holland, and astronomical prices were sometimes paid for a single bulb. In this painting as well, tulips play a leading role. The whimsically shaped red-and-white and red-and-yellow striped tulips were especially prized. Although nature creates them, it also lets them wither and die – just like the dead frog at the right.