HAMEN, Juan van der
(b. 1596, Madrid, d. 1631, Madrid)

Serving Table

Oil on canvas, 67 x 104 cm
Private collection

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Van der Hamen's style, like Sanchez Cotan's before him, was his cultivation of the illusion of three dimensional space. With an emphasis on formal purity, he has, in this still-life, subtly manipulated a series of forms (edibles and utensils) all derived from primary geometric shapes (circles, spheres and cylinders) and played these against the reticular articulation of the tablecloth and the receding rectangular tabletop. As a result of the powerful play of light and shadow on the creased damask cloth near the picture plane, and the subtle shading of the tabletop, a compelling 'arena' is established wherein the richly modelled forms can assume their maximum plasticity. The place of each form is firmly established by the strong, transparent shadows cast toward the right.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.