Willem Kalf Still Life

Willem Kalf Still Life
Willem Kalf Still Life

Willem Kalf (1619 – 1693) is one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Baroque completely specialized in still life painting. And a good example is this work that is preserved in the National Gallery in London and whose full title is Still Life with the Horn Vase of the San Sebastián Archers Guild, lobster and drinks.


Still Life by Willem Kalf

And of course the many still lifes that Kalf painted, and why they were so coveted, was because of this artist's incredible ability to capture the smallest details of each element that makes up the still life, and then give all of them a texture full of realism, almost as if it were an excellent photograph with a complete command of light.

In Holland in those years, still life became one of the favorite subjects of painting lovers, that is, those who bought or commissioned their works from artist. And above all, what they were looking for in these fabrics is that there be an enormous variety of elements, and especially of textures, something very typical of the taste of the Baroque of the 17th century.

Well, Willem Kalf achieved enormous success in this, knowing how to recreate in his works a whole range of textures that became a delight for the viewer's senses.

Here we see on the table, a rich carpet, of which we can not only seeits decorative motifs deformed by the folds, but we can also appreciate the quality of its thread. That wrinkled rug is under a silver tray, of which we see very little, but you can tell that it is clean and very well polished thanks to its shine.

In that tray is the lobster, of an intense red color, a color that powerfully attracts attention and yet even more captures our senses to be able to appreciate its qualities to the touch, because Kalfhas been able to recreate itself to show in two dimensions the hardness of that crustacean. All this with light and color.

Then there are the half-filled glasses, where their ornamentation is painted in great detail. But those details reach their zenith in the central element of the still life: the horn.

That cup in the shape of a horn is the attribute of the San Sebastián guild that would commission the work. And on top of the red of the lobster, this bony piece, ivory and in a vertical position, stands out from the rest. We can imagine his touch and if we had a magnifying glass we could see his silver jewelry decoration, of enormous delicacy in which the painter has been able to recreate the figures of various members of that archers' guild.

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