The still lifes by Coorte have neither predecessor nor successor. Most of them show an arrangement of fruit or asparagus on the corner of a stone ledge. From the mid 1690s, his very unusual practice of oil on paper glued on canvas or panel reinforces the assumption that the author is not a professional artist.
The butterfly appears in the same period. In flight, its wings fully open or closed do not bring realism in the composition, following the lush positioning of small animals in the art of van Kessel.
In contrast to the exuberance of van Kessel, Coorte is a minimalist. The careful texture of the fruit with stems and leaves is the unique theme of the composition, but he likes the vertical formats and the butterfly comes to cleverly break the monotony of the upper part of the picture.
Such a decorative research based on a humble iconography anticipates Chardin's researches while no link can be imagined between the Middelburg amateur and the French artist of the following century.
A paper on panel 31 x 23 cm, undated but realized around 1695, showing three peaches and a butterfly, was sold for £ 2.05M including premium by Bonhams on 7 December 2011. This painting is now estimated £ 2M, for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 3, lot 37. The image is shared by Wikimedia: