Art Plus – Still Life with Fruit (1675) – A painting by Jacob van Walscapelle

Elegant Grandeur

Elegant Grandeur
O’erflowing with pained ripeness
Harvest’s sacrifice

Still Life with Fruit (1675) Jacob van Walscapelle (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)

Though modest in size and compass, this still-life painting by Jacob van Walscapelle has a remarkable sense of grandeur. Assembling only a few objects on a plain stone ledge, the artist has conveyed a monumentality of presence usually found in much larger and more complex still life works. The painting possess compositional restraint and an elegant simplicity.

Bathed in soft light, every figural element quietly asserts its essential properties. The Venetian-style glass filled with wine sparkles against the sombre dark background. The pomegranate bursting with seeds invites the viewer to imagine its ripe taste, as do the grapes spilling over the edge. In addition to their simple beauty, these items are also part of a long iconographic tradition within still-life painting.

The grapes and wine evoke the Christian Eucharist, while pomegranates have complex associations with Christ’s suffering and the Resurrection. In this sense, Van Walscapelle’s painting encourages the viewer to contemplate Christ’s sacrifice and eventual rebirth.

Poem Attribution Goff James, Elegant Grandeur

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Painting Attribution © Jacob van Walscspelle, Still Life with Fruit

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