Clara Peeters (active from 1607 to 1621) was one of the few women painters working in early modern Europe, and a pioneer in the field of still life painting. Her elegant pictures show tables with arrangements of different types of food, vessels, animals and other objects.
This book provides the most up to date study of her career and her works. It places the artist in the cultural and artistic context of Antwerp, and calls attention to the way in which she transformed collecting and display practices into art. The paintings of Clara Peeters also reflect the material culture of the time in Europe. The texts in this book explore the meanings that contemporaries associated with foodstuffs such as fish, cheese, artichokes or pies, with exotic shells and Wanli porcelain, and with birds of prey and other animals.
Also considered are the possibilities and limitations that women artists faced in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries due to widespread prejudices. Clara Peeters’s will to be recognised as a woman painter is manifest in the small self-portraits that exist reflected on the shiny metal surfaces of vessels in several of the paintings reproduced in this book.
The curator of the exhibition of her works and the editorial director of this accompanying publication is Alejandro Vergara, senior curator of Flemish and Northern European Paintings at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid.