Still Life with Sweetmeats

Unidentified artist, Spanish, 17th century


39.7 x 72.1 cm (15 5/8 x 28 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

Not On View





The friezelike arrangement of tipped and propped confections suggests a display in a shop window. The boxes hold glazed fruit and candy and sticks of brown sugar; in the center is a broken piece of gingerbread. At the time this picture was painted, Spanish colonies on the islands of the Caribbean led the world in the production and export of sugar. Rare and expensive, sugar was available only to the privileged few, and this modest image by an unknown artist may have been understood as a status symbol or even as a proud reminder of Spain’s preeminence among European powers.


Anonymous collection, Spain. Anonymous dealer, Switzerland; sold by this dealer to Frederick Mont, New York; 1962, sold by Mont to the MFA for $7,000 [see note 1]. (Accession Date: February 14, 1962)

[1] In a letter to the MFA (October 26, 1962), Mont said that "the painting comes from Spain. We purchased it from an agent in Switzerland."

Credit Line

M. Theresa B. Hopkins Fund