Feb 13, 2012

Still Life with Dead Birds and a Basket of Oysters

Still Life with Dead Birds and a Basket of Oysters

c. 1860–80

Germain Ribot

(French, 1845–1893)

Oil on fabric

Unframed: 46 x 55.3 cm (18 1/8 x 21 3/4 in.)

Bequest of Noah L. Butkin 1980.281



Against a dark brown background, Ribot painted a basket filled with oysters. Light coming from the left is gently cast over the wicker basket. A dead magpie, with its white chest and long black beak, emerges from the shadows at the left. This bird, along with the partridge in the foreground, the jay toward the back, and what appears to be a sparrow at the right, are probably located in a kitchen, where preparations for cooking will soon begin. Germain Ribot, who painted genre (everyday life) scenes and still lifes, was the son of the more famous Théodule-Augustin Ribot (1823-1891), known for his working-class and peasant subjects.

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