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Abraham van Beyeren
The Hague, 1620-Overschie, The Netherlands, 1690
A Roemer with Grapes, a Pewter Plate and a Roll, 1600s
Oil on panel.
Still-life paintings became popular in Europe in the seventeenth century. Lacking the traditional patronage of the Church and court, Dutch artists especially excelled at these banquet table scenes painted for a growing merchant-class clientele interested in commercial goods. Here the casual composition, with plates precariously set near the edge of the table on a rumpled tablecloth, while a knife with a mother-of-pearl handle juts out towards the spectator, suggests human activity.