Still Life with Cheese, Almond and Pretzels

Clara Peeters • Painting, 1615, 34.5×49.5 cm
Digital copy: 2.1 MB
3000 × 2089 px • JPEG
49.5 × 34.5 cm • 154 dpi
50.8 × 35.4 cm • 150 dpi
25.4 × 17.7 cm • 300 dpi
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Still life
Style of art: Baroque
Technique: Oil
Materials: Wood
Date of creation: 1615
Size: 34.5×49.5 cm
Region: The Hague
Artwork in collection: My collection Tatyana Somova
Artwork in selections: 11 selections
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Description of the artwork «Still Life with Cheese, Almond and Pretzels»

It was not easy to be a professional artist in the 17th century. But her skills were recognized during her lifetime. There is a document from 1635 describing one of the collections in Amsterdam where her work is recorded as "A still life with sweets (a sugar banguet) painted in 1608 by a woman, Claire Pieters of Antwerp". And this is not the only evidence. Her name appears in a 1627 document, where her painting "Still Life of Fish" (fish after Clara Pieters) is listed as part of the property of a woman named Lucretia de Beauvois from Rotterdam, wife of the painter Herman Saftleven. There are also documents dating back to the mid-17th century about the presence of her paintings in various collections throughout Europe.

There is practically no information about the artist herself. And only her works can be a source of information about her life. Today there are 39 signed paintings of the artist. The earliest painting is dated 1607. That is, if the researchers do not mess up the picture was painted by the artist at the age of less than 14 years (!?). There is no information about her place of birth, but there is reason to believe that she lived and worked in Antwerp. There is no record of her work in the city itself though. This leads to the assumption that she worked for export, due to the difficulty of entering the professional artists' guild in her home town. The work of the artist in Antwerp is indirectly confirmed by the markings on some of the boards on which the artist wrote.

Some of the silver knives on which the artist autographed are bearing the coat of arms of Antwerp. And we know that in those days, guests came with their own table knives. And such named knives were often wedding gifts. So these could be real knives belonging to Clara Peters herself.
The artist Clara Peters was one of the first masters of Dutch still life. She was practically called the ancestor of the genre. Her works had a great influence on the artists of North Holland.
Her very tasty works appeal with their naturalism and positivity of the joys of gluttony. It is not for nothing that in German ("banketjes"), English ("banquet pieces") and Dutch ("ontbijtjes") there are separate terms for such works depicting food on the table. Unfortunately, there is no such term in Russian in the field of art. Rarely would anyone call these paintings "table settings," "banquets," "feasts," or "breakfasts." Among other things, her paintings are a manifesto for the success of a wealthy middle class. Raisins, almonds, figs, gilded Venetian glass, a Chinese dish, what better way to show your guests your wealth. These paintings were not intended for the palaces of the nobility, but for the cozy homes of burghers, for their kitchens and dining rooms. And one of the functions of these works was to increase the appetite of the homeowners and their guests. And the rest is up to you.

And the artist herself never missed an opportunity to stay in her works forever. In many of her works she left her self-portrait in reflection on tableware. We see a similar self-portrait in the painting, on the metal lid of a jug.