Along with its companion painting, “Tarts,” this piece pictures my family’s holiday meal. I had to complete the sketches, take photographic references, and do my alla prima color sketches before the food spoiled. It was a fun challenge. For some details, I of course was able to set up smaller arrangements in my studio. For example, I had a bowl of pickles and olives in my studio for several weeks. The bread is still on a tableau, and I think it is officially petrified.The INspiration for “Charcuterie” is Pieter Claesz’ 1627 painting ‘Still Life With a Turkey Pie.” In classic Dutch still life form, plates and knives are tilted or precariously perched on table edges, and give a sense of tension that contrasts with the serene feeling of sitting down to enjoy a nice home cooked feast. Of course the libations in the roemer glasses which were often used for drinking games, brought you right back to the relaxed state. I love how you get the feeling somebody just walked by and snuck a piece of pastrami or an olive. 17th century Dutch painters were some of the first to lessen the formality in their paintings. They depicted everyday compositions that look “lived in,” and that’s why I love them. They invite you and your senses in. I want to smell and taste that lemon. My mouth puckers at the thought.
“Still Life With a Turkey Pie”by Pieter Claesz1627Oil on PanelThe Hague, Netherlands