Saturday in the Museum with Floris

Image:  Floris van Dyck, “Still Life with Fruit, Nuts and Cheese” (1613)

For the past few months we have been doing posts on Saturday to highlight a piece of art, especially art that has a food theme.  We often refer to them as “virtual side trips” to the museum.  Side trips because they are only tangentially related to the other postings during the week for our D.C. dining guide and virtual because we are lifting them off the interwebs from around world instead of visiting in person.  Now that so many of us are cut off from real trips to the museum, virtual seems more vital.  If you want to check out our prior postings while cooped up, use the “art” tag.

Our recent postings have been on still life paintings.  This week, we continue to look at Dutch 17th century pieces that are at the epicenter of the type.  One style was more monochrome nature and was called “banquet” or “breakfast” still lifes.  They originated in the mercantile city of Haarlem.  Prominent practitioners were Pieter Claesz and Willem Claesz Heda.  Another of that group was Floris van Dyck.  In honor of the cheese breaks that many are learning about, we offer up his still life on the topic.

The painting is in the collection of the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.  Here is the museum description:

“An expensively laid table with damask, Chinese porcelain, pewter dishes, cheeses, fruit, bread and wine. This type of still life is known as a ‘breakfast piece’ and originated around 1610 in Antwerp and Haarlem among other places. The high point of view is characteristic of early still lifes: the viewer sees the table from above. All the objects can be clearly seen, there is hardly any overlapping. Each detail is accurately painted: the bloom on the grapes, the wormhole in the apple peeling, the reflection of the bread in the dish.”

There is little available about van Dyck.  He was born in Delft around 1575, spent time in Italy and settled in Haarlem.  He joined the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke in 1610 and became dean in 1637.  He is credited with being one of the creators of the banquet still life painting.  He died in Haarlem in 1651.

Though he does look like a happy fellow:


“Florentius Dikius Harlemens” by Hendrik Hondius I (1610).

If you are social distancing, teleworking or otherwise bored, we encourage you to go down the rabbit hole of our dining guide listings and reviews.  There are also other random postings on things like art!

If you are looking to support local businesses by either going out or ordering in, check out our list of more than 250 recommended restaurants for Washington, D.C. You can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating!  In both MAP or LIST format.  Note that several places are offering special take-out menus – including the Reverie duck or burger!