In Dutch Still Lifes, Dark Secrets Hide behind Exotic Delicacies
Image rights: Source: Public Domain
Purchased with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt and the Stichting tot Bevordering van de Belangen van het Rijksmuseum, 1974
One of the most important Dutch still-life painters of the 17th century, Pieter Claesz pioneered tabletop still lifes, depicting carefully composed meals that included breads, fruits, and wines. Claesz’s simple compositions are noted for bringing a remarkable presence to familiar items, capturing their rich textures, three-dimensional forms, and the play of light on surfaces. Claesz often included memento mori in his paintings, as in Vanitas (1656), in which a skull and bone are represented alongside an overturned chalice, burning incense, and script music, inviting viewers to reflect upon mortality and the passing of time.
Dutch, 1597-1660, Berchem, Belgium