Jan Weenix

I’ve been going to the Wallace Collection off and on for well over half a century and I never tire of its amazing store of treasures. I was little more than a toddler when I first fell for the charms of The Laughing Cavalier, even though it soon dawned on my young mind that Frans Hals’ iconic subject was not really amused. And I quickly developed a deep appreciation of the dark beauty of the Van Dyke portraits and the glorious colours of the Rubenses. Later, I came to adore Poussin’s exquisite and mysterious Dance To The Music Of Time and the gorgeous De Hooch interiors. Now, decades on, I have finally turned my attention to the Wallace’s trove of Dutch still lifes. In particular I love those by Jan Weenix, who evidently believed a memento mori should be full-blooded in every sense and rendered the details with astonishing skill. There are a dozen or so on show and it’s worth a trip to central London just to see them. No matter how often I visit, however, I can’t find anything good to say about the huge Boucher series on the stairs or the chocolate-boxy Fragonards. But they won’t keep me away. Who knows – in another ten years I might even fall in love with them too.

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