Jan Jansz Den Uyl, Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork

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FA102: Art From the Renaissance to Modern Times Paper #2—Jan Jansz den Uyl, Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork is an oil on panel produced by Jan Jansz den Uyl, an artist of the Dutch Baroque period. The painting is dated around 1637-39 and measures 130.5 x 115.5cm. It depicts a disarray of objects—pewter, goblets, plates and unfinished food—strewn across the tabletop on top of a piece of rumpled white linen. Although it may seem like an ordinary still-life painting, the artist attempts to convey a hidden message to the audience through his careful selection and arrangement of the subject matter. This essay will explore how den Uyl achieves this by presenting a formal visual analysis with emphasis placed on the painting’s composition and historical context. Breakfast Still Life with Glass and Metalwork can be organized into two planes. The background consists of a wall with a niche on the right hand side; it is separated approximately down the middle by light and shadow. In the foreground is a table covered with rumpled white linen on the right side, on top of which is a large pewter flagon, a pair of overturned glass and gold goblets, and a piece of ornate Venetian glassware framed by the niche. A gold plate hangs precariously at the side of the table facing the viewer and would have fallen off if it were not balanced by the weight of another plate stacked upon it. A spoon and a pocket watch are placed nearby. There is also an upset metal container and a porcelain plate with a morsel of stylized cheese or butter elevated on a tin can. A long piece of black cloth covering the whole table is made visible on the right end. A plate of half-eaten pie and a silver spoon lay forgotten along with the glass half-filled with an unknown beverage. The leftovers are surrounded by a silver plate, a small knife and some bits…...

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