Floris Gerritsz van Schooten - Still Life of Cheese (17th Century)
Clara Peeters - Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels (1615)
My December Double would not be complete without a pair of savory food still lifes by two fantastic Dutch Golden Age painters. 'Still Life of Cheese' by Floris Gerritsz van Schooten and 'Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels' by Clara Peeters both devote our attention to history’s most celebrated dairy product, however each artist offers a widely different approach toward this subject matter.
Van Schooten's painting uses an earthly palette and generous helping of empty space to create a subdued, contemplative scene. By comparison, Peeters's painting could be described as bold and perhaps even a bit overwhelming, using high contrast and occupying all corners of the canvas with food and glassware, leaving little room for the scene to breathe. I prefer van Schooten’s approach, though I do enjoy the amount of excessive detail throughout Peeters’s painting, and apparently the top piece of that orange jug contains a tiny smidge which could be a self-portrait of the artist. This would seem appropriately indulgent considering the spread of foods on display.