Willem Claesz. Heda, 'A Banquet-piece', c1635

Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680)

A Banquet-piece, c.1635

Oil on wood panel, 55.3 x 73.8 cm
Bequeathed, Sir Henry Page Turner Barron, 1901

Known as a banketje (banquet-piece), the display comprises pewter plates - one with a joint of ham, the other a knife - a façon de Venise flute glass, a pewter flagon, a Berkemeyer glass, bread, a mustard pot and a spoon. Apart from the costly flute glass, which would have been made in Venice or copied in Holland, these are everyday objects observed with a precision and order that continues to fascinate.

Heda emerged as a still-life painter in the early 1630s. He initially followed earlier Haarlem painters in employing simple table arrangements, but in time he added increasing richness and complexity to his works. The highlighting of objects by a crumpled white tablecloth, the overhanging knife to suggest depth, and the play of reflections, all conveyed in the restrained, silvery 'monochromatic' style of Haarlem artists, are typical. Light sparkles across the composition, in which the textures of the ham and bread, and the carefully judged spaces, are integral to the effect.

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