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attributed. A Still Life with Dead Birds, a Tazza with Grapes and a Glass Vase with Flowers. Pen and brown ink, grey wash. 15.1 x 18.3 cm.
The Flemish animal and still life painter, Paulus de Vos, was the brother of Cornelis de Vos, both of whom were active in Antwerp throughout their lives. The marriage of Paulus’ sister Marguerite in 1611 made Paulus the brother-in-law of a well
regarded older fellow artist, Frans Snyders, with whom he subsequently enjoyed a close personal and artistic friendship. De Vos became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1620. In the years that followed he frequently collaborated
with Rubens and Snyders, the former becoming godfather to his son Pierre Paul in 1628. Paulus de Vos left an extensive oeuvre of paintings, the size of which is greater than it occasionally appeared, given that many of his works were attributed
in the past to Frans Snyders. The younger Paulus was far from being a mere imitator of Snyders, however. On the contrary, under Rubens’ influence he developed a spirited stylistic idiom of his own which finds expression primarily in his portrayals of highly animated hunting scenes and animal fights.
The present exquisitely treated sheet reproduces a still life Frans Snyders made around 1613/14 (Robels 112 II, private collection). It is clearly a drawing made to be used as a model for studio purposes. The small sheet has been executed in a cautious, careful manner which is very different from Snyders’ free and energetic penwork. What the drawing lacks is the spark of a prima idea. The artist inches his way forwards with great care and meticulous detail. A number of study sheets in the same hand are now in the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp (inv. nos. PK.OT.00134, 00138 and 00140). These studies used to be regarded as works by Frans Snyders, but it
now seems more likely that the author was Paulus de Vos.