Dose of Art #184: Jacopo de’ Barbari – Still-Life with Partridge and Gauntlet (1504)

Used to images as we are, it is easy not to forget the effect a good trompe l’oeil would have had five centuries ago. Imagine this wooden panel by Barbari hanging on a wall in some hunting lodge where any unexpected viewer would be surprised it was a painting instead of the real thing. It is the same optical illusion we still like watching (be it in other forms).

Contemporary optical illusion painted on a street.

Barbari’s still life shows a dead partridge, a pair of gauntlets and a bolt of a crossbow. He signed it with his name and the year 1504.

Just look at the incredibly detailed gauntlet with its individual shackles and realistic metallic shine.
Barbari’s signature and the date. In the right bottom corner a caduceus, the sign of Mercury is visible. He also used it to sign many of his engravings.

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