Still Life with Ewer, Vessels, and Pomegranate
Luxury objects, such as the ornate ewer, steeple cup, and elegant glass vessels, are carefully arranged on a table in this Dutch still life. An open pomegranate and a bowl of fruit rest on white drapery. To the right, a lemon and three olives are reflected in a silver plate that rests precariously on the table's edge. Behind this, a platter holds a tankard, whose elaborate polished surface reflects the adjacent wineglass. Light falls from the left, playing across these precious objects and causing them to glitter and shine. Willem Kalf delighted in the play and contrast of transparent and reflective surfaces: the finely wrought metal of the ewer, the representation of smooth glass, the weave of the linen drapery, the dry crumbly texture of the bread, and the wet, shiny insides of the open pomegranate. At first glance, this still life implies an absence of human presence. But a closer look reveals just the opposite. The torn bread, half-empty glass of wine, sliced fruit, and overturned glass allude to human intervention, as if these lavish delicacies were abruptly left on the table.
Oil on canvas (mid-1640s)
by Willem Kalf (Dutch, 1619-1693)
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