DOUBLE DUTCH: The Secret Language of Dutch Still Life
Merchants of the Dutch Golden Age filled their town houses with paintings. But these upright Calvinist citizens rejected biblical subjects and Baroque melodrama.
Favourite themes were found closer to home. Still Lifes reflect the prosperity and self-esteem of the new Republic. The detailed realism of these paintings is compelling but is there more to Dutch art than meets the eye?
Banketje (banquets) and ontbijtjes (breakfasts) celebrate an abundance of foodstuffs. Could the curl of lemon peel, platter of oysters, kraakware bowl of blemished fruit or spiced meat pie warn of the dangers of gluttony and pleasures of the flesh?
Vanitas, 'pronkstilleven' and 'blompots' display treasured possessions. If we look closely, however, the pocket-watch, fading bloom or, more explicitly, human skull, might hint that consciences are troubled by such ostentation.
Join me to explore the secret symbolic language of Still Life paintings and become a fluent reader of 'Double Dutch'!