Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Artist

Unknown Artist

Title

Fish Shambles

Creation Date

1600-1700

Century

17th century

Dimensions

38 in. x 52 11/16 in. (96.5 cm. x 133.8 cm.)

Object Type

painting

Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

oil on canvas

Credit Line

Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III

Copyright

Public Domain

Accession Number

1813.13
Historically, “Shambles” referred to a table or stall for preserving goods, especially meats, for sale. Thus, the assigned title of this painting merely describes its setting. Though the large display of fish is an ichthyologist’s dream, the interaction between the male fishmonger and a female customer constitutes the real drama. Collected by James Bowdoin III, the painting may recall scenes he witnessed during his own European travels. Trade and maritime commerce were frequent themes in European art of the seventeenth century.

Object Description

still life with fish; man with cleaver at left, woman with basket at right

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