They fascinate us today as they did 500 years ago: elaborate compositions of exotic fruits or platters with oysters, floral arrangements and skulls, exquisitely decorated musical instruments and scientific instruments. Magical things testify to exuberant wealth and hedonism as well as to the enlightened curiosity and religious fervour of the Baroque era. This lavishly illustrated book that even features a pictorial glossary sets the stage for the internationally renowned collection of still lifes housed in Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery). Focusing on the dazzling masterpieces of Dutch and Flemish painting, this book examines the genre in all its diverse facets. What meaning, what content, and what function did still lifes have, what allegories and symbols are concealed in their coded messages? How did the artists take the game of optical illusion to extremes? More than 70 still lifes from the Dresden collection by painters such as Cornelis de Heem, Abraham Mignon, Rachel Ruysch, and Frans Snyders provide a unique insight into the golden age of this magical genre.