Friday, February 23, 2018

Painted Objects and Faces from the Seventeenth Century

Edward Collier
Still Life with a volume of Wither's 'Emblemes'
oil on canvas
Tate Gallery

The Marigold

When with a serious musing I behold
The grateful and obsequious marigold,
How duly, ev'ry morning, she displays
Her open breast, when Titan spreads his rays;
How she observes  him in his daily walk,
Still bending towards him her tender stalk;
How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns,
Bedew'd, as 'twere, with tears, till he returns;
And how she veils her flow'rs when he is gone,
As if she scorned to be looked on
By an inferior eye, or did contemn
To wait upon a meaner light than him;
When this I meditate, methinks the flowers
Have spirits far more generous than ours,
And give us fair example to despise
The servile fawnings and idolatries
Wherewith we court these earthly things below
Which merit not the service we bestow.

But, O my God! though groveling I appear
Upon the ground (and have a rooting here
Which hales me downward) yet in my desire
To that which is above me I aspire;
And all my best affections I profess
To Him that is the sun of righteousness.
Oh, keep the morning of His incarnation,
The burning noontide of His bitter passion,
The night of his descending, and the height
Of His ascension ever in my sight.
     That imitating Him in what I may,
     I never follow an inferior way.

– George Wither (1635)

Abraham Mignon
Still Life with Flowers and a Watch
ca. 1660-79
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Adriaen Coorte
Shells on a Stone Plinth
oil on paper, mounted on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Hans Bollongier
Floral Still Life
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Jan Steen
The Baker Arent Oostwaard and his wife Catharina Keizerswaard
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Each face in the street is a slice of bread
wandering on

somewhere in the light the true hunger
appears to be passing them by
they clutch

have they forgotten the pale caves
they dreamed of hiding in
their own caves
full of the waiting of their footprints
hung with the hollow marks of their groping
full of their sleep and their hiding

have they forgotten the ragged tunnels
they dreamed of following in out of the light
to hear step after step

the heart of bread
to be sustained by its dark breath
and emerge

to find themselves alone
before a wheat field
raising its radiance to the moon

– W.S. Merwin (1971)

Jan Steen
Couple Drinking
ca. 1660-79
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Govert Flinck
Portrait of Gerard Pietersz Hulft of the Dutch East India Company
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Govert Flinck
Portrait of a Man traditionally known as Gozen Centen
ca/ 1639-40
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Adriaen van de Venne
Stadholder Prince Maurice lying in State
ca. 1625
oil on copper
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

from The Other Stars

Over the hub of the hill, a solid wall of
silver leaves. Underfoot, soil without
burrows. Blanketing soil and leaves, a scrim of
hushed and unpunctured blue. Then all of a sudden,
rumors of something about to happen; the night
restless with its own unkeepable secrets,
the very air strained and achingly electric.

Because you are not here, nighttime behaves
this way, calling for terms I'd long since put away:
susurration, intrigue, reverberant. It is only
in your magnanimous absence that stony surroundings
can sing your praises so; I curse even as I gape
to know that their raving requires your being
anywhere else. The evening hums in compensation.

– Rachel Wetzsteon (1994)

Nicolaes Maes
Portrait of a Young Man
ca. 1675-85
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

workshop of Jan van Ravesteyn
Portrait of Philipp Ernst, Count of Hohenlohe zu Langenburg
ca. 1609-35
oil on panel
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

 Portrait of Marten Soolmans
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Frans Hals
Portrait of Feyntje van Steenkiste
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Frans Hals
Portrait of a Man
ca. 1635
oil on canvas
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Peter Lely
Susanna and the Elders
ca. 1650-55
oil on canvas
Tate Gallery