Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork

about 1637–39
Jan Jansz. den Uyl (Dutch, 1595 or 1596–1639 or 1640)


130.5 x 115.5 cm (51 3/8 x 45 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on panel

On View

Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242)





What appears to be a haphazard arrangement of precariously balanced objects on rumpled white linen is in fact a carefully structured composition, culminating in the Venetian goblet framed by the niche. Placed among splendid objects of pewter, glass, porcelain, and gold-plate, the extinguished candle and the pocket watch on a silk ribbon may be symbols of death and passing time. Den Uyl’s name in Dutch means owl. He often “signed” his paintings with hidden images of owls, and one can be discovered here on top of the handle of the large pewter flagon at left.


1926, Linnartz, Schloss Schlesisch-Nettkow, Germany; March 23, 1926, Linnartz sale, Lepke, Berlin, lot 117 [see note 1]; May 24, 1927, sold by Lepke, Berlin to Pieter de Boer, Amsterdam; 1927, sold by de Boer to Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam; November 14, 1927, sold by Goudstikker to Julius Böhler, Munich (stock no. 27,235); March 12, 1930, sold by Böhler to Böhler and Steinmeyer, Lucerne [see note 2]; May 24, 1930, sold by Böhler and Steinmeyer to Charles Bain Hoyt (b. 1889 - d. 1949), Lucerne and New York; from Hoyt to an anonymous donor; 1954, anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 8, 1954)

[1] Attributed in the catalogue to W. C. Heda. [2] Julius Böhler co-founded Böhler and Steinmeyer.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift