KALF, Willem
(b. 1619, Rotterdam, d. 1693, Amsterdam)

Still-Life with Chinese Porcelain Bowl

Oil on canvas, 64 x 53 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

This still-life depicts a marble tabletop with Herat carpet, sporting fruit, Venetian wine glass, and Northern rum glass. There is also a covered Huan-Li porcelain sugar bowl.

Willem Kalf spent a few years in Paris as a young artist. There, he encountered new tendencies in still-life painting and absorbed them in his own work. Shortly after his return to Holland, he developed his own personal style of painting, rich still-lifes of luxury items - silver cups and dishes, Chinese porcelain vessels and elaborate Venetian-style wine glasses - mysteriously lit, displayed before a dark background, and often placed on an eastern tablecloth. Despite the high quality and luxury status of the objects he rendered, the compositions of those still-lifes are often restricted in their opulence. Kalf would concentrate on a few items per painting, which he would render to their best advantage - perfectly arranged and dramatically lit. More often than not, his lighting had the effect of modern spotlights.

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