Though modest in size and compass, this still-life painting by Jacob van Walscapelle has a remarkable sense of grandeur. Assembling only a few objects on a plain stone ledge, the artist has conveyed a monumentality of presence usually found in much larger and more complex still lifes. Bathed in soft light, every figural element quietly asserts its essential properties. The Venetian-style glass filled with wine sparkles against the somber dark background. The pomegranate bursting with seeds invites the viewer to imagine its ripe taste, as do the grapes spilling over the edge. In addition to their simple beauty, these items are also part of a long iconographic tradition within still-life painting. The grapes and wine evoke the Eucharist, while pomegranates have complex associations with Christ’s suffering and the Resurrection. In this sense, Van Walscapelle's painting encourages the viewer to contemplate Christ's sacrifice and eventual rebirth. �Van Walscapelle was an accomplished still-life painter, though little is known about the trajectory of his career. Born in Dordrecht in 1644, he established himself in Amsterdam in 1673 and remained there until the end of his life. His approach to still-life painting relates to that of Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606–1684), who similarly relished in the complex and versatile beauty of the visible world. Van Walscapelle’s work nevertheless differed from De Heem’s mature paintings in its compositional restraint and elegant simplicity


Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps