• Breakfast with a Crab

    Artist:
    Heda, Willem Claesz. 1594-between 1680 and 1682
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    118x118 cm

Heda, Willem Claesz. 1594-between 1680 and 1682

Breakfast with a Crab

Holland, 1648

The Dutch created several types of still life. One of them, known as the “breakfast”, had its origins in the ceremonial dining tables depicted in group portraits. First the people disappeared from the paintings, and then from an abundance of dishes and tableware the genre gradually evolved in the direction of a modest breakfast for one person. The main theme of these still lifes was the transience of earthly life. They produce the impression of some interrupted action, embodying the fragility of existence. Willem Claesz Heda was one of the most significant exponents of this genre. His composition is always strictly thought out. Concealed behind the apparent random placement of the objects there is fine calculation on the artist’s part. He was not afraid to disrupt symmetry, to shift a bright spot, the white satin tablecloth, away from the edge of the table, as can be seen in this Breakfast with a Crab. At the same time Heda’s still lifes are not simply a selection of objects. The artist had a brilliant ability to detect and convey the invisible presence of a human being in a painting, to bring out his individual tastes and way of life. This can be sensed in the overturned goblet, the crumpled tablecloth, the unfinished glass of wine and the carelessly placed delftware plate with the olive that has tumbled out of it.

Title:

Breakfast with a Crab

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

118x118 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1920; handed over from the State Museum Fund (The Expert Commission)

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-5606

Category:

Collection:

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