Friday, September 26, 2008

Samuel Van Hoogstraten

Samuel Van Hoogstraten. Still Life with Ziplock Bag of Weed, Tom Petty Cassette, c. 1666-1668

Dutch painter Samuel Van Hoogstraten is one of many artists with a keen interest in trompe-l'oeil ("trick the eye") techniques. He was a specialist in this field and the work shown here is typical of the genre. Because such tromp-l'oeil effects do not work well in depth the artist chose to portray flat objects that could be placed on the picture plane to which relatively flat items could be added. Observe the quill, the wax-sealed letter and opener. The medallion, dime bag and comb. The rolled ribbon, scissors and Full Moon Fever cassette. Despite their variety each item is but a few millimeters thick.

That old chestnut about the spectator who is actually fooled by such painted objects is quite easy to imagine in this case, but we should not forget that such paintings were actually intended as a joke and that they were meant to produce a sense of surprise on discovering that the objects were painted rather than real.

1 comment:

Jan Peeters said...

Ah! It seems so close.