Still Life with Pie and Silver Ewer

Willem Claesz. Heda1658

Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem, Netherlands

From 1640 onwards, Heda’s still lifes became ever more crowded. In the 1630s his compositions were still relatively simple. Then, in the 1640s, the fashion for more sumptuous still lifes developed in Holland – extravagant paintings with a great variety of objects. The artistic challenge for the painter was no longer solely to render materials with deceptive realism, but also to place a great variety of objects in a harmonious composition. Heda went with the times, and also started to paint these opulent still lifes. In this – still comparatively simple – piece, he reveals himself to be an accomplished master of the genre.
Heda is sometimes described as the master of reflection. In this painting he has taken full advantage of the reflective qualities of shiny materials. In the silver jug, for instance, we can see the reflections not only of a window but also of the nautilus shell cup and the crab. The glazing bars of a window frame are reflected in the wine glass next to it. The pewter plate on the left reflects the porcelain plate, while the plate on the right shows the reflection of the crab lying on it.


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