Still-Life with Peaches, Grapes and Butterflies, Abraham van Calraet

Abraham van Calraet

Still-Life with Peaches, Grapes and Butterflies


34x45cm, Oil on copper


Abraham van Calraet (1642-1722) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and engraver. He was born in Dordrecht, where he seems to have spent his life. He may have been a pupil of Aelbert Cuyp, whose style he closely imitated. He was a still-life and landscape painter.
Van Calraet’s paintings are characterized by their delicate brushwork, soft colors, and attention to detail. His still lifes often depict fruit, flowers, and other natural objects, arranged in a simple and elegant manner. His landscapes are typically of the Dutch countryside, with rolling hills, rivers, and cows grazing in the meadows.
Van Calraet’s work is not as well-known as that of some of his contemporaries, such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, but it is nevertheless highly regarded for its technical skill and artistic merit. His paintings are held in major museum collections around the world, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
While Abraham van Calraet was first and foremost an animal painter and landscapist, he also produced numerous still lifes. E. Gemar-Koeltzsch writes about him: ‘Abraham van Calraet’s still lifes almost always show peaches arranged in Chinese porcelain bowls or directly on tabletops, surrounded by grapes and butterflies and sometimes also by shells and cherries. A very moderate impasto applied with a broad brush and translating the various textures of his objects into colour, light, and shadow, is typical of the artist’s painting style. Light is used to emphasise a narrowly delineated area of the composition in order to set the pieces of fruit, primarily peaches, off against the shadowy and mostly very dark surrounding space. The hard shadows thus produced by the fruit lend Calraet’s works a certain drama […]. A highly characteristic feature of Calraet’s compositions is the velvety appearance of his peaches, whose soft, furry surface seems deceptively real and appeals to the beholder’s sense of touch. The painter’s interest entirely focuses on these peaches, for which he also reserves the most powerful colours, vigorous reds and yellows.’


Private collection, Zürich, Switzerland


BRAFA 2015: Jan Muller Antiques
Art rules, Artlife project, Tallinn, 2015

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