Object Image

Breakfast

Pieter Claesz was a classical Haarlem painter of still life. Claesz was skilled at depicting both the similarity and difference between things, their form, texture and surface, and making each object live in a dimly lit interior. Behind the particular in his pictures, painted with leisurely brushstrokes, one can sense the laws of a world where “everything is similar and related to everything else”.

The decoration on the goblet stem resembles the grapes on the table, but the grapes are alive and the glass is cold and dead. On the crumpled tablecloth is a pewter plate with a precise form and hard texture. The articles interact differently with the diffused light: a ray of sunlight from the window strikes the surface of the goblet, is refracted by the wine and sounds a different note. Claesz detects hidden life in inanimate objects. It is not surprising that the term “stilleven” (“still life”) appeared later in the Dutch language to designate this pictorial genre.

1646
Oil on wood
60.0 x 84.0cm
580
Images and text © The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, 2018

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