Pieter Claesz, 1641
Such an austere palette! Such an embarrassment. Such riches!
—A flute of currant-red liquid,
—-black and red currants in a silver bowl, rhyming
red beads on the lacquered finish of the fork-and-knife set, a red
—-and black string (the sole blood
——-coursing through this body, save a flush of the wall left russet where
———–the light greets
——-shadow, color and form rhyming like mind, maybe:
———–one cracked nut’s exposed meat.)
The central fowl, perched prone, lifts its glazed breast, wing at its side (like mine),
—its feet uncannily human
—-fingers. Some vine leaves rise extending laterally
from the currants’ bowl. Glare slides past the shadow the silver
—-server throws, its spout a
——-sea-serpent’s head, the handle’s final fin Neptune’s dolphin. Bread rolls
———–form eyes or
——-one small o where they’ve been parted (what the skull shows
———–in another painting).
The timepiece, a cross, has three cases: one gold outside, inside black;
—the next, crystal, with a gold lip:
—-its light source shines in it, a small globe; the last’s gold
through and through, time’s workings bright beads (on black string, a gold key-flag).
—-What’s drawn me to stand here
——-so long docents clip-clop back ascertaining I’ve done no mischief:
——-in black reflecting on the silver pitcher while
———–pondering, brilliant windows
over his right shoulder, our white tablecloth-cloud spread before him.
—Three goblets, globed, and one carafe
—-throw two long windows shuttered, bent like dropped wafers
in honey water, white-topped, muted gold below, split (like faces).
—-It’s all on the money:
——-The crisp tablecloth, still creased, like the silk white one Mother ironed,
——-allegory of gluttony: salt cellar
———–with a base made of three
silver pillars topped with three beads, standing over the true Christian
—wayfarer, golden, with his sword
—-of truth in hand, his breastplate of righteousness clasped
in the other, as if beholding this feast in pure equipoise
—-triumphant, the salt piled
——-above him is all truth purely, the light of the whole world, reflected
——-without which Claesz might not have seen to see through his
———–acquisitive, rich eye.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.