still-life painter, born in Germany and active in Haarlem where he
settled in 1617. He and Willem Claesz. Heda,
who also worked in Haarlem, were the most important exponents of the
"ontbijt" or breakfast piece. They painted with subdued,
virtually monochromatic palettes, the subtle handling of light and
texture being the prime means of expression. Claesz. generally chose
objects of a more homely kind than Heda, although his later work became
more colourful and decorative.
Oil on panel, 36 x 46 cm
Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam
The stylistic phases and fluctuations in aesthetics through which the
Dutch landscape passed had their direct counterpart in still-life. The
silvery tone which dominates in this Still-life by Claesz, muting the
colours and subtly adjusting the objects to each other, directly relates
to the tonal direction landscape took after 1630.
Oil on panel, 40 x 61 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
In the still-lifes of Claesz., the objects are ordered in a simple way;
they are just laid out on the table. The light is even; shadows are used
only to emphasize each object's plastic form.
Oil on wood, 60 x 84 cm
Pushkin Museum, Moscow
The work of the Dutch still-life painters
who appear around 1620 corresponds to the tonal trend of the
landscapists of van Goyen's generation. Pieter Claesz and Willem Claesz.
Heda, popularizers of the breakfast piece, are the principal
representatives of this phase. Claesz, the father of the landscapist
Nicolaes Berchem, was born at Berchem (probably the village near
Antwerp). Heda's origins are obscure. Both were primarily active at
Haarlem and underwent similar stylistic developments.
Still-life with Turkey-Pie
Oil on wood, 75 x 132 cm
This colourful still-life is an early work by the artist. One
innovation which he introduced and later became standard was showing
the left edge of the table, by which means he increased the feeling of
depth in his paintings.
Still-Life with Musical Instruments
Oil on canvas, 69 x 122 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
This painting is one of the first known still-lifes By Pieter Claesz, whose
subsequent production belonged to the monochromatic painting movement developed
in the 1620s.
Still-Life with Oysters
Oil on oakwood, 38 x 53 cm
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Kassel
The affluent citizens of Haarlem were particularly open to the refined
taste displayed in breakfast still-lifes by artists like Pieter Claesz. and
Willem Claesz Heda. In this painting, a half-full rummer, an overturned tazza or
wine-cup, an inverted Berkemeier glass, a silver plate and a knife, together
with bread, hazelnuts, a lemon cut and peeled, oysters and a little paper cone
of pepper, are all artfully organised to produce a fictive effect of serendipity.