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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.

Date: 2016-12-16 12:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gorgeous! Still life food paintings are among my favorite pieces of art.

Date: 2016-12-16 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Agreed. I appreciate a well executed still life as well, and to think for many years the genre was shunned by academics. Food is always a great still life subject, and there's something tranquil about how the Dutch Golden Age painters approached this subject. For example, this 16th century plate of one's dinners might actually symbolize the artist's musings on mortality, and so forth. I dig that sense of dramatic weight when applied to a couple blocks of aged cheese. 😄

Date: 2016-12-16 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
nothing says "mortality" quite like a wizened plum.

Date: 2016-12-16 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i like Floris Gerritsz van Schooten's because of the lovely way they painted the red and black currants, so translucent and tasty looking* <3 Peeters has the nicer texture on the cheeses and the decanter is really wonderfully done.

(as an aside, i was looking through and unknowingly all of the still-lifes i really loved were by Cezanne ... i had no idea i was such a fan until i looked at the stuff i was tagging as my favorite - and they had quite a variety of painters!)

*i feel like black and red currants are a very European thing, i never see anyone drinking black currant juice in the USA and it's really common in Poland.

Date: 2016-12-16 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I prefer the Schooten painting as well, mainly because of his delicate use of light and the empty space. The Peeters painting has some wonderful textures, especially within the cheese, but they help the food look any more appetizing, if that was the artist's intent.

I haven't been on in awhile, however Pinterest is a great resource for discovering and sharing new works. Nearly all of my December Double paintings were found on the site.

Date: 2016-12-17 08:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ribena was a big thing in the UK when I was a kid, it's a drink made from blackcurrants. I think it is still quite big but it's more of a young kids drink so something you'll find more in primary school. I never liked Ribena myself, too sugary!

I recall picking red and black currants in my parents garden, it was a yearly ritual! I've planted some in my own garden (along with gooseberries, which I love.)

I think the problem with currants is that they are quite delicate (too soft and easily squashed) and can't be stored for long and a bit sour for over sugared modern palettes. So you rarely see them for sale in shops.

Even growing your own is a faff, you need to cover them in nets or the birds will eat all the berries. My bushes are still too young to fruit, (I bought them as grafted twigs from the pound shop) but fingers crossed for next year!

Sorry to butt in, your comment triggered some lovely childhood memories of picking currants and wild strawberries in my mum's garden.

Date: 2016-12-16 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But which would you rather eat?!

Date: 2016-12-16 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oooooo ... Good question! I think I'll take some of the almonds in the second painting!😀

Date: 2016-12-17 07:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm intrigued by the black cheese (in both paintings.) I'm a bit of a cheese fanatic who will spend ages in speciality cheese shops tasting everything.

Never seen any cheese that looks almost black like that! Not even in Amsterdam or Utrecht. I wonder if it is an obsolete cheese.

Date: 2016-12-17 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Excellent question. Inwas wondering about that myself. I've never encountered black cheese either. Must investigate further! 😉
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