Works of art enter museums and galleries in various ways. Each object, however, has its own story and life before settling in a gallery or museum collection. Like its author and content, the life of a work of art or its provenance presents an important part of the object's identity.
Still life by Dutch painter Peter van Kessel (Antwerp, 1630/1640 - Ratzeburg, 1668), owned by the National Museum of Slovenia, depicting a table with food, various vegetables and dead birds, has been in the National Gallery of Slovenia since 1989 as a temporary deposit and on display in its Permanent Collection. The picture came from Slovenska Bistrica Castle, which was in the possession of the Attems family.
However, it looks like the painting was not commissioned by the Attems family, but was included in their collection later on. This can be deducted from the "hidden" coat of arms on the majolica, which has been completely overlooked in the publications about Kessel's painting so far, probably due to the darkened pigments. The coat of arms belongs to the influential Croatian noble family Zrinski (Zriny) that came to an infamous end due to their role in the anti-Habsburg conspiracy, which included Ban Peter Zrinski (Zriny) (1621–1671), Franz Christoph Frankopan (Frangipani) (1643–1671), Styrian nobleman Hans Erasmus Count Reinstein and Tattenbach (1631–1671), and Hungarian magnate Ferenc III Nádasdy (1623–1671).
1 October–4 November 2020
National Gallery of Slovenia