|Title||Ewers, Basins and Pilgrim Flask|
|Collection||Victoria and Albert Museum|
|Artist||After Kalf, Willem (Dutch painter, 1619-1693),|
|Date Earliest||possibly about 1675|
|Date Latest||possibly about 1700|
|Description||This painting is an exact copy of a well-known still life by Willem Kalf. The original painting shows a complex and triangular composition that displays rare and luxurious silverwares and Chinese porcelain. The artist focusses his attention on the rendering of the different qualities of the material: the glittering golden embossed plate and jars, the polished silver of the façon-de-Venise vase, the glossy look of the porcelain and the contrast between the linen tea towel falling from the table onto the warm red velvet stool. Kalf also enhanced the gloomy rendering of these wares by a subtle play of light and shade. This technique and the palette belong to the tradition of the Dutch monochromatic still life pictures of the second quarter of the 17th century. Willem Kalf belonged to a prosperous patrician family from Rotterdam. In the 1630s, he went to Paris and spent a long time with the Flemish artists residing in St-Germain-des-Prés. Kalf returned to Rotterdam in 1646 but continued to travel in the Netherlands. In 1653, he was in Amsterdam where he remained until his death.|
|Current Accession Number||P.6-1939|
|Subject||still life (silverware)|
|Measurements||102.5 x 86 cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on canvas|
|Acquisition Details||Bequeathed by Lionel A. Crichton 1939.|
|Publications||I. Bergström, Dutch still life painting in the I7th century, 1956, fig. 218, and p. 368.|
The original painting,was analysed in 2000 during the exhibition dedicated to the artist in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Apart from the V&A version, there are two more copies: one is housed in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen (inv. no. 833-5) and the other is preserved in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologna (inv. no. WRM 2598). The copy in Cologna was stated to be the original painting by Grisebach in his 1974 catalogue raisonné of Kalf's oeuvre but is now believed to be an 18th-century copy. The V&A version is much smaller than the original one and has been cut on the edges at the top and on the right hand side. Part of the composition is therefore missing.
This painting belongs to the tradition of Dutch semi-monochromes still-lifes called banketjes or 'little banquet pieces' painted by the Haarlem artists Pieter Claesz. and Willem Claesz. Heda who were the masters of this art in the 1630s and had a great influence on a large numbers of still-life painters in Haarlem and elsewhere. During the course of the 1640s Kalf developed the banketje into a new form of sumptuous and ornate still-lifes, the (pronkstilleven), characterised by a rich accumulation of gold and silver vessels together with a stunning mastery at capturing the effects of light. One of Kalf's essential characteristics is that he often produced his compositions in series, bearing some minor differences. He had many followers and enjoyed a reputation as one of the greatest Dutch painters of still-life.
|Rights Owner||© Victoria and Albert Museum, London|