David De Coninck or De Koninck (nicknamed "rammelaer" or "rattler") was a Flemish painter who specialised in still lifes and landscapes with animals and hunting scenery.
Similar to his tutor, Pieter Boel, the paintings of Jan Fyt were a source of inspiration and admiration for both artists.
A long-term stay abroad made him an internationally renowned animal painter. Vienna, Paris, Munich (as court painter) and over 20 years of working and living in Rome, has led to the fact that he himself was the inspiration for several followers. His membership of the 'Benthveughels' in Rome and Guild of St. Luke made him one of the leading painters of his era.
Back in Antwerp and Brussels, he mainly focused on the hunting scenery, although little is known of the last years of his life. Where and when he died is uncertain.
This painting is very characteristic for De Coninck's oeuvre. As mentioned, he was tutored by P. Boel, an apprentice of Jan Fyt. Stylistically, the influence of the latter can be seen in the dry, hairy, brushstrokes, the depicted and the color scheme (vibrant red/blue/yellow).
Not surprisingly, this work was attributed to Jan Fyt, for quite a long time, the signature on the lower right side made us believe that for several years.
However, after close examination of both experts and restorers this attribution and signature appeared to be false and therefore was removed. De Coninck himself rarely signed or dated one of his works.
As for the depiction; a malicious cat was the symbol of evil and fakeness, as the opponent dog is representative for strength and loyalty. Apart from those two animals, different kinds of birds are presented on a silver tray, giving the painter the alibi to show (off) the vanitas motive in the diversity of color and shape.
Oil on canvas, 93,5 x 130,2cm
We humbly thank Dr. Fred Meijer for confirming our work as an original de Coninck.