Even though he never painted a picture not containing a human figure, Netherlandish painter Pieter Aertsen (1508-1575) played an essential role in the emergence of the still-life by granting a dominating place to objects and to victuals, which he represents in all their triviality. While it’s very apparent that every element was keenly observed by the artist—the image has nonetheless been recomposed in the studio. “What cook would place small fowls and a heavy leg of lamb on the same spit?” It’s also worth noting that this artist was also an early contributor to what would become genre painting—scenes of everyday people leading everyday lives.
IMAGE 473 AERTSEN: Pieter Aertsen - Cook in Front of the Stove - 1559 - Oil on wood, 172,5 x 82 cm - Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
Netherlandish painting; Northern Renaissance