The artist was among the exiles who left Antwerp for religious reasons and settled in the Netherlandish Republic. He soon made his fame as a painter of cultivated flowers and fruit, and he also traded in art. The symmetrical composition of the bowl of peaches, executed in precise, smooth brushwork, was painted shortly before his death in The Hague. The conspicuous fly brings an element of action into the painting and reinforces the illusion of reality. It also reminded his contemporaries that by its impact, beautiful fruit succumbs to decay, and thus became a symbol of destruction.