The next fun event from last week was a Fundraiser that had multiple surprises in store.
One subject that caught my eye was glassware – and for my taste nobody does that better (in the art department) than the flemish painters of the Baroque. The topic suggested itself by watching an extraordinary bartender, Estanislado Orona with Aperitif/PDX, lay out his wares and providing a drink that was out of this world.
Note, I like beer. Or the occasional Pinot Gris. I’ve only ventured into cocktails in the last year, and then sparingly. But this thing was a knock-out. Called Sprung it mixed Trisaetum Winery Riesling, Jasmine Honey, Whiskey Tincture, Honey Dust, Gold, and Ylang Ylang perfume.
Side effect, other than an involuntary smile on my face for the rest of the evening, was honey dust glued all over my camera, since I was at work that night. Just like the rise of the pronk (fancy display) still life paintings in the Northern and Spanish Netherlands in the 1600s were indications of increasing urbanization, the advent of cocktails in the Heuer universe reflects increasing sophistication. And mess. But I digress.
The bartender clearly understood that part of the pleasure is visual. Never mind that the chrysanthemum blossoms in the glass where fall flowers, the intended effect – spring – was achieved.
When you study the dutch paintings it becomes clear very quickly that glass was still a luxury item in the 1600s. Many painters used the same glass over and over in different arranged still life settings. And they chose to place them against dark backgrounds so that the sparkle became particularly visible in the contrast. I did not have that choice as a photographer who documented a set scene, but even then the glasses to me looked luxurious, perhaps in their multitude.
The paintings focused on personal possessions and commerce at that period, mainly in the cities of Antwerp, Middelburg, Haarlem, Leiden, and Utrecht. Later, when Amsterdam became the economic center, the fancy pronk still lives really took off, featuring depictions of porcelain, venetian glass, exotic objects etc.
Here is to pleasure in life, for eyes and tastebuds. Cheers!
Jan Davidsz de Heem Still Life with a Glass and Oysters 1640
Osias Beert de Elder Three Dishes with Sweatmeats and Chestnuts and three Glasses on a Table
Frans Ykens Still Life with Shrimp 17th Century
Peter Claesz Still Life with Silver Brandy Bowl, Wine Glass, Herring and Bread 1642