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The precise details in the works of Otto Marseus van Schrieck, the inventor of the sottobosco still life, fascinate viewers to this day. For the first time the artist is now being shown within the context of his contemporaries, revealing an unknown side of the Golden Century of Netherlandish painting and the beauty of still life, as well as the fascination of the dark, the hidden and the uncanny. The works of the Amsterdam painter Otto Marseus van Schrieck question the relationship between art and scienc e during the seventeenth century. The painter was acquainted with important scholars in many countries, including Johannes Swammerdam and Cassiano dal Pozzo. His oeuvre shows the paradigm change from book - based scholarship to empirical science. The gaze is always directed towards reality. Animal and plant studies served as preparation for his works, which in fact form the illustrations to the scientists' research. Together with them the painter belonged to an international republic of scholars whose image o f Europe is still relevant for our worldview today.
Gero Seelig is curator of Netherlandish paintings at the Staatliches Museum Schwerin in Schwerin, Germany. The Staatliches Museum Schwerin represents the artistic memory and foundation for cultural identity of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.