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Still life with cheeses, almonds and pretzels (Bretzel) / Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels

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1615 • Oil, Wood

Description of the artwork «Still life with cheeses, almonds and pretzels (Bretzel) / Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels»

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

About the artist there is almost no information. And only her work can be a source of information about her life. Today we know 39 signed paintings of the artist. Its earliest painting dates back to 1607. Those. if the researchers did not get it wrong then the picture was painted by the artist at the age of less than 14 years (!?). There are no data on the place of birth, but there is reason to believe that the artist lived and worked in Antwerp. Although the city itself does not have any of her work. With these associated assumption, she worked for export due to the difficulty of joining the professional guild of artists in her native city. The work of the artist in Antwerp is indirectly confirmed by the marking of some boards on which the artist wrote.

On some silver knives, on which the artist put her autograph, the coat of arms of Antwerp is viewed. And we know that in those days the guests came with their table knives. And such nominal knives were often wedding gifts. So it can be real knives belonging to Clara Peters.
The artist Clara Peters was one of the first masters of the Dutch still life. She was called almost the ancestor of the genre. Her work had a great influence on the artists of North Holland.
Her very delicious work is attracted by her naturalism and positivity of the pleasures of gluttony. Knowingly in German ("banketjes"), English ("banquet pieces") and Dutch ("ontbijtjes") languages ​​for similar works depicting food on the table, there are separate terms. Unfortunately in the Russian language there is no such term in the field of art. Rarely, who will call these pictures "Covered table", "banquets", "feasts" or "breakfasts". Among other things, her paintings are a manifesto of the success of a rich middle class. Raisins, almonds, figs, gilded Venetian glass, Chinese dish, which can better show your guests your wealth. These paintings are not intended for noble palaces, but for cozy houses of burghers, for their kitchens and dining rooms. And one of the functions of these works was the function of increasing the appetite of the owners of the house and their guests. And all the rest is up to you.

And the artist herself did not miss the opportunity to stay in her works forever. In many works she left her self-portrait in reflection on the dishes. We see this self-portrait in the picture, on the metal lid of the jug.
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Still life
Style of art and technique: Realism, Oil
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