Clara Peeters Mackenzie Beirl

Clara Peeters was born sometime between 1588-1590, likely somewhere in Antwerp. There's little known about her life, but she was established as an artist in Amsterdam by 1611 and came to a pioneer of the still life. She may have been married, but it's not confirmed due to how common the name was at the time. She was one of the few women painters who was considered a professional in early modern Europe.

As seen in the painting below, Peeters emphasized realism, which was an alternative to the idealism of the renaissance. She included many objects that would be considered common, but in the current time these items showed the abundance of the household, revealing the tastes and habits of the most prosperous classes of modern Europe.

Still Life of Fish and Cat (after 1620)

She often creates strong contrast between dark backgrounds and lit objects in the foreground, like in Still Life of Fish and Cat, which is also a great example of her ability to make very detailed textures. Some of them seen here are the thick glaze on the bowl, the sleekness of the cats fur, rough oyster shells, slippery fish, and gleaming pewter.

Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels

Another thing that distinguished Peeters paintings from others at the times was her tendency to include her own portrait on the reflection of shiny surfaces like vases or goblets. The painting Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels is an example of this "signature". It's very hard to see (which is really a tribute to her incredible ability to work in extremely small detail), but you can just barely see her reflection in the metal pot with the handle and spout. It's in the very middle of the pot just above where it bulges out, and is reflected again onto the same protruding part. In a time where there were very few women recognized as professionals in the art community, this was something that forced the viewer to acknowledge her existence and talent.

Peeter's Signature

Something else that encouraged the viewer to acknowledge her as a professional was the fact that she worked in a highly professional manner. It's even believe that she utilized studio assistance because of slight differences between how the paintings are painted.

Peeters earliest paintings date back to 1607 and she was most active between 1611 and 1612. There are no known paintings after 1621. Her works are present in collections located in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Madrid.

Credits:

Created with images by irinaraquel - "Clara Peeters - Still life with Cake and Olives" • irinaraquel - "Clara Peeters - Still-life with Fish and Cat" • irinaraquel - "Clara Peeters - Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit and Pretzels" • irinaraquel - "Clara Peeters - Still Life with Flowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit and Pretzels"

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