Still Life with Römer, Silver Taza and Bread1637. Oil on canvas, 83 x 66 cm.
This still life forms part of the group of paintings Vroom dubbed monochrome banketjes or monochrome still lifes which were started in 1629 by Willem Claesz. Heda, but which Pieter Claesz. cultivated with equal mastery, to the point that these two painters are considered its leading exponents. The work is dated 1637 and signed with Claesz.`s typical monogram and the enigmatic word TÉNESIUS In Brunner-Bulst`s view (2004), this could be an erroneous Latin form of Tienen or Tirlemont from the Latin Tenensis, a small town in the province of Brabant which could, therefore, be the painter`s birthplace.
From a stylistic viewpoint, the still life has all the features and compositional elements of the monochrome typology. On the table, covered in a green cloth and placed against a neutral background, items from a dinner service -glasses of the Roemer and Berkemeyer type, a silver tazza, pewter plates and a knife- as well as certain kinds of food -walnuts, bread and lemons- are spread out in a specific order that enables the painter to demonstrate his skill with perspective and foreshortening. The objects depicted are part of the set of household articles that would have been owned by the well-to-do classes and were all made in the Netherlands, except the tazza, which was imported from Italy. The light entering from a source on the left, outside the picture, creates a monotone range of greens and greyish browns, characteristic of this type of still life. The metal and glass objects in the painting share the same rounded, concave and convex shapes.
Of the Claesz. output today considered to have been painted by the artist himself, the tazza shown here only appears on one other occasion, in a still life dated 1635 (Brunner-Bulst 2004, no. 62, private collection) (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, pp. 300-301).