|WOMAN PEELING APPLE|
GERARD ter BORCH, 1650
"I ask myself: why precisely in this country are a great-grandmother’s bonnets, a cradle, a great-grandfather’s frock coat made from Scottish wool, and a spinning wheel preserved with special care, an almost religious attention? The attachment to things was so great that pictures and portraits of objects were commissioned as if to confirm their existence and prolong their lives."
"The good reputation of Dutch painters secured invitations to foreign courts, so Godfried Schalcken, Adriaen van der Werff, and Eglon van der Neer, for example, spent years in the service of the Prince Elector in Düsseldorf. But the great ones—Vermeer, Hals, Rembrandt—never traveled to the other side of the Alps, or even neighboring countries. They remained faithful to the trees, walls, clouds of their homeland, and to their native towns. What is stranger still, this provincialism by choice constituted their strength, and decided their posthumous triumph."
"[W]hat is nine o’clock if it does not mean sitting at the desk in an office, the noon hour without the stock exchange, four o’clock from which dinner is taken away, six o’clock without coffee and a pipe, eight o’clock deprived of all meaning because they have removed the table, supper, family, and friends. O holy ritual of everydayness, without you time is empty like a falsified inventory that corresponds to no real objects."
--From Still Life with a Bridle, in which "poet and essayist Zbigniew Herbert takes an intriguing look at the cultural, artistic, and aesthetic legacy of 17th-century Holland."
|STILL LIFE WITH OLD BOOKS|
JAN LIEVENS, c. 1627