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Pieter Claesz., Still Life with Drinking Vessels

Key facts
Full title Still Life with Drinking Vessels
Artist Pieter Claesz.
Artist dates 1597/8 - 1660
Date made 1649
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 63.5 × 52.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2592
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Still Life with Drinking Vessels
Pieter Claesz.

The objects in this still life appear simple and modest, but in the artist’s own time they would have been recognised as costly and luxurious. Luscious strawberries spill from an expensive Wanli bowl, imported from China. Olives glisten in a pewter dish and a salmon is cradled in its own crisp skin and sprinkled with capers. Fresh walnuts and a crusty loaf complete the meal, accompanied by white wine in the roemer (the heavy glass with a beaded stem) and beer in the tall, octagonal passglas behind it.

The background of autumnal leaves and perhaps even clouds may mean a meal taken outdoors or by an unseen open window – yet you wouldn't see brown leaves and strawberries at the same time of the year. It’s likely that the picture is a purely imaginative concoction of objects sketched at different times and put together for the pleasure of the viewer.

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