Eye Candy for Today: Willem Claeszoon Heda still life

Still Life of Oysters, a Nautilus Cup, a Roemer, Lemon and Other Objects, Willem Claeszoon Heda
Still Life of Oysters, a Nautilus Cup, a Roemer, Lemon and Other Objects, Willem Claeszoon Heda

On Sotheby’s (zoomable). Direct link to image file here.

I love the subtle sheen of colors in the nautilus cup, and the way the glassware almost disappears into the dark background.

Interesting to compare to this somewhat more elaborate still life by Heda’s contemporary, Pieter Claesz, also featuring a nautilus cup.


6 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Willem Claeszoon Heda still life”

  1. Terrific presentations. I can’t believe that I lost contact with this wonderful site. Perhaps my favorite oysters were painted by Abraham Mignon. A good source is the Rijksmuseum’s “Still Lifes: Techniques and Style” I will be spending quite some time catching up here. Thank you and Happy New Year.

  2. Still-Life
    Poem by David Masello (for Charley Parker)

    A scene I would paint, if I could:
    the young Dutchman at the party,
    offering North Sea oysters, shucking
    them for guests who say “Yes” to the offer.
    He slices into the seam of the shell,
    mottled, amorphous as a rock—
    expert camouflage in an outcropping,
    a creature, said to be insentient,
    fashioning something this ingenious.
    The blade teases his metal-mesh glove.
    A scrape of residual sand and, then,
    upon the unhinging, a release
    of the reek of the sea; a final flourish
    of lemon juice that leaks through his fist.

    He awaits as you tip and drink
    the pearlescent brine, dislodge
    and slide the being into your mouth;
    a kind of sorrow for that gray mass,
    its one exposure to the air we breathe.

    He then positions the hip that carries
    the bucket for you to deposit the shell.
    Golden Age still-lifes include the oyster
    on their tabletops, a symbol of longing,
    an aphrodisiac, among the other goods
    of bread, wheels of gouda, pomegranates,
    unfurling peels and scattered femurs,
    assembled to tell us what we have in life,
    for now. Never included in such scenes
    painted by the masters is there a figure
    such as he, though, look closely enough,
    and you might find a face like his reflected
    within the wink emitted from a silver pitcher spout,
    the sheen that wraps the orb of a grape.

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