Willem Heda, Dutch, ca. 1596–1680, Still Life with a Roemer and Watch, 1629, oil on panel, 18 1/8 x 27 1/4 inches, courtesy Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague, Acquired in 1895 (inv. no. 596)
Hicks writes that " these Golden Age painters emerging a century or two later, unlocked the key to realistically rendering the natural world. Willem Heda’s Still Life with a Roemer and Watch (1629) is nearly a miracle. The glimmers of light against a pewter dish, a lemon rind, and a glass half full of water feel not just transcendently beautiful, but also correct in the most mundane sense of the word. You can feel confident that, yes, that’s what things really look like." He continues: "If the Renaissance theorists were right, then we should believe that these kinds of paintings were in some sense inevitable, that sooner or later artists would get the visible world right and a Dutch still life would be the result. But that story overlooks what may be most intriguing about the work: that painting from the Dutch Golden Age is a fiction that aims not to be accurate, but to be convincing. It’s novelistic, not documentary. The realism of the Dutch masters isn’t just the result of a natural evolution but an aesthetic choice that helped a new nation create a story about itself and its place in history."
Thomas Micchelli writes about Rembrandt's Self-Portrait from Kenwood House, London, on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York through May 20, 2012.
Micchelli notes: "This painting is one of the artist's richest and most profound self-portraits, rendered in earth tones softly illuminated by raking, flaxen light. Rembrandt, who would live for only three or four more years, may be staring mortality in the face, but his expression bespeaks stillness and calm, even as his posture – chest forward and arms akimbo — betrays a subtle, ineradicable haughtiness."
Altoon Sultan blogs about Polish poet and essayist Zbigniew Herbert's essays on Dutch Golden Age Painting.
Sultan writes: "Herbert takes us on a deep tour of Dutch 17th century painting in his 1991 book Still Life with a Bridle... he aims to write about Dutch 17th century painters in a down to earth way, not romanticizing their lives... What we see in Dutch paintings are everyday things, ordinary views."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.