Frans Snyders (1579-1657) was born in Antwerp and became a student of Pieter Brueghel the Younger , and also became good friends with Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck and Jacob Jordaens. Snyders first became well known for painting still lifes of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Snyders’ market scenes portray abundance where dead animals are juxtaposed with live cats and dogs or even monkeys, and fruits and vegetables are arranged by value. More expensive and rare varieties are on tables, while the less expensive are on the ground or lower in the picture. Later he painted grandiose hunting scenes which were filled with action. From 1636-1638, he assisted Rubens in completing commissions for a large hunting pavilion. A Baroque painter, Snyders was the first artist to concentrate on painting animals and to devote whole compositions solely to animals participating in every day activities. His works influenced his contemporaries as well as 18th-century French animal painters such as Jean-Baptiste Oudry, François Deportes and Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin. In 1647, Snyders lost his wife, and ten years later in 1657 he died. Childless, he left everything to his sister. However, an Antwerp art dealer acquired his art collection which also included pieces from the major Flemish and Dutch painters of the time.
Be sure to look closely to find the cat(s) in the paintings!