Sam Segal Still Life Studies

Still Life expert Sam Segal in his study, Amsterdam

In the process of trying to determine the eclectic bunch of floral species in the Brueghel still life, we contacted botanists in Amsterdam and Vienna. A growing list of the species was made, but with many question marks and uncertainty about, for example, which flower the one with the disproprtionately oversized purple petals could be! In our quest we contacted the hortus Amsterdam who immediately suggested Dr Sam Segal: a biologist and art historian who has an inexhaustible knowledge of Netherlandish floral still life painting. Segal is currently archiving his extensive research on still lives with the RKD Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (Dutch Institute for Art History) in the Hague.

Wietske visited Sam Segal in his Amsterdam studio and library in October 2011, a vast archive of scholarly botanical know-how of 17th century panels and pigment, books and knowledge gathered from years of travel and horticulture. Mr Segal is of course familiar with the Brueghel painting in question and was, also on the basis of similar paintings able to determine the 53 plant and 12 animal species. Some of these identifications have been disputed among entomologists and other botanists, but more on that later!

Sam Segal Still Life Studies, Amsterdam

RKD Rijksbureau voor Kunst Documentatie, the Hague


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