A still-life with a pewter jug, a glass of beer; a cooked ham, a bread roll on a pewter plate, together with other objects, all placed on a table draped with a white cloth
Pieter Claesz
Haarlem 1597 – 1660 Haarlem
W x H
70 x 52cm
Oil on panel + signed with monogram and dated PC/1648 middle left. Expertise by Dr. M. Brunner-Bulst, 31/03/2009. Pieter Claesz. was the most prominent and prolific painter of still lifes in Haarlem in the seventeenth century. Between 1621 and his death in December 1660, he painted probably more than 300 still lifes, mainly of meals displayed on a table. With Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680), he was the main protagonist of what has been called the Haarlem ‘monochrome banketje’ (the monochromatic banquet still life). Particularly in the 1630s, they painted still lifes in a restricted and subdued palette. In the 1640s, Claesz.’s work grad- ually became more colourful again, although this work from 1648 still largely adheres to the monochromatic idiom. Also in the course of the 1640s, Pieter Claesz’s handling of the brush became broad- er, without losing his sense of accuracy and detail, however. He worked rapidly, without layering his paint very much – as such his manner reminds of that of his famous fellow townsman Frans Hals. Claesz. often repeated motifs in his still lifes, such as the wrinkled white cloth, the shape of which he varied endlessly. A bread roll, a ham, and a pre-cut herring were also favourites on which he liked to vary. This still life is a rare example in which he combined a ham and a fish, usually he included only one of the two. In the back, there is dark (probably rye) bread, there are onions to go with the herring, mustard for the ham in the small German stoneware jar, a sauce (vinaigrette?) in the dish of Chinese Wanli porcelain, some walnuts and hazelnuts, and of course a glass of ale, poured from the pewter tankard to the left. — Text by Dr. Fred Meijer