Still Life with Snuffwort and Kitrauhre

Image description.

The first thing we notice is the splendour of snuffweed in its seductive purple bloom. Yet then the lemons impose themselves onto our eyes, and beg the question of why they were placed there. Do the bitter fruit signify the dangers of snuffweed addiction? And should the hanging peel, ready to fall out of the picture at any moment, remind us of the "fall" that invariably follows the moment of weakness in which we give in to snuffweed's temptation? Did the artist juxtapose here the beauty of the snuffweed plant, and an allegorical warning against snuffing?

And yet, as our gaze is drawn along its customary path from left to right, it comes to rest yet again on the firework of red and purple that is the snuffweed bouquet. And thus the artist invites us to consider the generous spirit of nature, and that a life spent in the beholding of such colourful wonders must surely be a life spent well. In this contemplation we are joined by the gentleman depicted in the portrait - a painting within a painting, placed there in a stroke of compository genius - whose left eye is regarding the snuffweed, but whose right eye is scrutinizing us, the viewers, asking us what we make of the arrangement. What does the picture say to us? The answer must be that it says many things: Life is suffering, say the fruit; your hopes will fall, says the peel; yet how beautiful are we, say the snuffweed flowers! Image drawn by Bard Judith.