Object Image

Banquet Piece with Mince Pie

In 1648 a contemporary writer noted that Willem Claesz Heda was a specialist in breakfast and banquet still lifes, painting "fruit, and all kinds of knick-knacks." At first sight, Heda's largest known still-life painting appears to welcome the viewer to a sumptuous feast. Yet pewter plates teeter precariously over the table's edge, while a translucent goblet and a silver tazza have toppled over, indicating that the feast has already been enjoyed. A number of objects in the painting hint at the transience of worldly existence. For example, the snuffed-out candle and the iron candle snuffer symbolize the abruptness by which life can end.

Heda was a master of uniformly cool-gray or warm-tan color...

Oil on canvas
106.7 x 111.1cm
Image and text © National Gallery of Art, 2020

Where you'll find this

National Gallery of Art
Permanent collection