Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels

Clara Peeters, ca. 1615
Mauritshuis, The Hague

This still life is a perfect example of the peerless ability of Clara Peeters to create a three-dimensional space by placing a variety of objects on a table. The artist appears to have been particularly fascinated by the pyramid of cheeses, crowned with a plate with butter curls, as she painted it in at least three other still lifes. This repetition almost recalls Giorgio Morandi, who painted the same objects again and again in different compositions in his explorations of pictorial space. However, in contrast to the twentieth-century painter, Clara Peeters is interested in each minute detail of the objects she depicts. With extraordinary painterly skill she captures the different ages of the cheeses and the reflections in glass and metal. She added her self-portrait to the metal lid of the flagon and her engraved name to the silver bridal knife, thus incorporating her presence into her own work. All this earns her a rightful place in the canon as one of the most inspiring masters of still life painting.

Justus Lange, Chief Curator, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, Kassel

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