food in the arts


CLAESZ, Pieter/ ARTISTS BEFORE 1650/ ART MAIN film and food  
(b. cca. 1597, Steinfurt, d. 1661, Haarlem) literature and food
  music and food 

Dutch 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.

photography and food
aphrodisiac food
Still-life with Herring                                         

Still-life with Herring

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.

Pieter Soutman: Life and oeuvre (

A History of Painting: Illustrated with 200 plates in colour. Volume 5: The Dutch Genius (

Pieter Claesz : Der Hauptmeister des Haarlemer Stillebens im 17. Jahrhundert. Kritischer Oeuvrekatalog –

Dutch Art: An Encyclopedia (Garland Reference Library of the Humanities) –


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.
Claesz - Still-life with Turkey Pie

Still-life with Turkey-Pie

Oil on wood, 75 x 132 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

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.
Claesz- still-life with musical instruments

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.
Claesz-still-life with oysters

Still-Life with Oysters

c. 1633
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.