HEDA, Willem Claesz.
(b. 1594, Haarlem, d. 1680, Haarlem)


Oil on wood, 99 x 83 cm
Liechtenstein Museum, Vienna

Heda did not start to paint diagonal compositions until the mid-1630s: the compositions start with flat plates, continue with pieces of ham and goblets, and culminate in a zenith-like fashion with beer or water jug. At times this pattern was of course broken, especially when Heda had to depict the valuable crockery of distinguished households, such as columbine goblets, cups of welcome, etc. Heda then went back either to his triangular or his pyramid-shaped compositions. But it is noticeable that whenever he did this, he also increased the incidence of 'chaotic' elements, showing, for example, the white table-cloth extremely crumpled as well as an overturned jug. (The overturning of goblets goes back to an ancient custom, and in the 16th and 17th centuries goldsmiths, for example, fashioned special goblets that had to be emptied all at once so that they could be placed on the table upside down.)

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