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During Wimbledon fortnight, I wonder what tennis and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum might have in common.

Some queuing perhaps? All in the name of ‘the experience’ of course.

On visiting the Dutch art gallery on a rainy Friday afternoon in May, it needed a little more than intentionally placed notices to convince that queuing, and not just one queue, was a worthy part of the visit.

Beyond the lines – the first, the second, then the third – was the art.

So, what of strawberries? Surely in abundance during the tennis.

The Amsterdam gallery crowds’ gathered several deep in places.  They drew around the well-known and recognisable works of Van Gogh, Vermeer and Rembrandt. But just to one side, without any spectator it seemed at that moment, was a small bowl of strawberries.

It was the dominant red, boldly picked out from the dense dark shadows that caught my eye and drew me across.  It was A Bowl of Strawberries on a Stone Plinth.  A framed oil painting of less than 30 centimetres square by 17th century Dutch artist Adriaen Coorte.

Strawberries piled high balance on the edge of an irregular shaped bowl. There is a stray one close to falling from the plinth. The bowl hovers just shy of the corner.  Some cracked stonework prop it all up.  What appears bold also seems precarious.

It shouldn’t really be a surprise that the strawberries, which were painted by Coorte in 1696, look just like those that might be home-grown and hand-picked today. But it is.  The vibrant colour, almost tangible form and texture, depicted with some gentle side lighting convey a freshness beyond the frame – and beyond their time.

See: A Bowl of Strawberries on a Stone Plinth

© Laura Claire H 2014

 

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