Painting - Vanitas Still Life by Pieter Claesz


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Vanitas Still Life by Pieter Claesz, 1625

Continuing in Dragonfly's series on Dutch painters, I will add Pieter Claesz. I recently discovered him when I saw the exhibition of his work at the National Galleries. It was quite impressive. His tabletop still life scenes are incredible. Extremely realistic renderings that are dramatic depictions of imported foods and magnificent tableware. He captures every detail, lighting and texture in some pretty elaborate pieces and it is breathtaking to see up close. His work has a richness to it that made this exhibit one of my favorites.

Vanitas Still Life is a bit different from the food pieces, but since Inky recently told me that she was interested in the artistic genre of Vanitas, I thought I would share this piece. It is reflecting on death. The candle burning down, the flower fading, the skull, and the watch give the message that time is passing. Contrasting that with the depictions of good life food paintings tells us to live it up while we can. Also check out this website of his work.


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  • 2 weeks later...


Fruit Still Life with Basket of Cheese, c.1624-1625

Here is another one of his paintings that was on display, a tabletop still life, which is more typical of his work. If you go to this webpage, you will be able to see about a dozen of his pieces and be able to zoom in very close. (Click enlarge image under the picture and a zoomable image will appear.)

His skill in capturing the intricate details simply amazes me. These were some of the most realistic renderings I've ever seen and offer a glimpse of some really cool old pitchers, glasses and other table pieces of the time. It makes you almost want to go out junking for antiques.


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