From then on, the
representation of flowers, dead animals or objects became more
symbolic as each thing had a religious meaning according to the
Bible. For example, still-lifes with raisins, apples or pears
represented the blood of Christ, His love for the Church or the
softness of His transformation into Man while a lobster
represented His resurrection.
also emblems and hidden religious and political symbols in these
paintings. The religious fracture between Catholics and
Protestants - between the South and the North - induced many
painters to become more allusive in their works. In addition,
these paintings contained hidden proverbs or were destined to
were mainly produced in the Hague which had an important market,
breakfast still-lives were a speciality in Haarlem while flowers
were more in demand in Utrecht. Nevertheless, these paintings
also reflected a change in mentality and thinking.
changes occurred at the end of the 16th Century in
Holland and the Flanders which were under the rule of the
Habsburg dynasty. With the development of overseas trade,
traditional agriculture receded while the development of markets
Dutch and Flemish
people became more accustomed to buying fruits and other foods
and because of the new opulence, painters had a new approach
towards their fetishism. Religious symbols thus became less
important while wealth became the target of hidden criticisms.
In Holland notably,
the trend was to oppose the traders and the peasants, the former
representing economic prosperity and the latter the old world.
However, religious meanings were still underlined such as in the
representation of meat which could indicate a threat to faith,
weak flesh or the ritual sacrifice of an animal.