This painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder shows flowers and plants which bloom at different times of the year. The various elements seen are mostly religious symbols: the butterfly could represent the Resurrection of Christ because of its pupation phase. The sprigs of rosemary and forget-me-not symbolise loyalty and constancy. The tulip was very popular as a subject, not only because of its exotic shade of blue, but also because of its intrinsic value: tulip bulbs were expensive objects of speculation in the Netherlands at that time.
The merchant and art collector Moritz von Gontard was chairman of the administrative committee of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut for a long time until his death. Gontard made a gift to the museum on two occasions: once for the opening of the new building in Schaumainkai, completed in 1878, which he took as an opportunity to present the museum with Lucas Cranach's 'Venus'. Eight years later Moritz von Gontard died and bequeathed thirty-three Dutch and Flemish Baroque paintings to the Städel.