Willem Claeszoon Heda (born 14 December 1594 in Haarlem; † 24 August 1680 there) was a Dutch portrait and still life painter.
Willem Heda always painted only still lifes. His paintings differ from the still lifes of his contemporaries: The colours are softer, cooler, and more harmonious. The bright yellow lemon peel is the only colour accent.
On a table set with a green tablecloth and two linen damask napkins are a pewter plate with bread and a pewter plate with oysters, a glass of red wine, a glass of olive oil or a jug of vinegar, a silver salt cellar, a Roman with white wine, a gilded silver bowl, a pewter jug and a Berkemeyer lying on its side. The range of grey tones that Willem Heda was able to paint is astonishing. With this subtle palette, he skilfully rendered the objects - made of pewter, silver, damask, glass and mother-of-pearl - on this table. A few yellow and ochre accents complement this refined interplay. Typical of Heda's still lifes are the finely nuanced colour combinations in delicate, grey and silver tones, mostly against a grey-green background. Reflections, e.g. those of a white napkin on the metal vessels, are very closely observed, just as the entire composition is very balanced and well thought out.
Gemar-Koeltzsch writes about Heda and his paintings (in: Dutch Still Life Painters in the 17th Century, Lingen 1995, p. 418): "Willem Claesz. Heda, together with Pieter Claesz, is considered the most important representative of the so-called 'Monochrome Banketjes'. In his depictions, the painter usually limits himself to a few objects. Characteristic for him are a Roman or Berkemeyer glass, a silver-plated tazza, which is usually depicted lying down, pewter plates, often a so-called Jan-Steen jug and a knife with a decorated handle. After 1645, this repertoire expands to include some richly decorated objects, such as Venetian glasses, flute or passport glasses, a gold goblet with lid, a silver jug, a chiselled silver cup and silver saltcellars in various shapes. To these table items Heda adds peeled lemons, a ham, a pâté, a crab or oysters. The obligatory roll, olive or nuts are also not missing in his work. The colouring of the pictures is predominantly determined by an olive-grey tone. [...] While in Pieter Claesz' paintings the objects measure the space of the picture and assign one or two main directions to it, the objects in Heda's paintings surround and encompass the space and, by means of light reflections, give rise to an atmospheric light that surrounds and connects the things and the space. [...] The circumscription of the volume of space or air through the orientation and allocation of certain table objects is an individual characteristic of Heda's painting." Heda specialised in almost monochromatic still lifes, so-called "tonal banquet pieces".
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65 | Still Life with a Gilt Cup (Stilleben mit vergoldeten Becher), 1635
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