Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells  

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Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells (1656, detail) by Jan van Kessel the Elder.
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Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells (1656, detail) by Jan van Kessel the Elder.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells (1656) by Jan van Kessel, senior . It is in the Frits Lugt Collection and reminiscent of the grotesque masks of Joris Hoefnagel.

This painting on copper – a surface often used by Kessel – is exceptional in his work: it is the only known specimen of this type of decorative and anthropomorphic composition with shells. The work is in an excellent state of conservation, enabling us to appreciate fully the painter’s meticulous technique and gift for trompe l’oeil.[1]

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