About 1636 Leiden - 1676 Amsterdam
Panel, 52,3 x 44,3 cm
Nicolaes van Gelder was a student of W. van Aelst and may have even studied in Leiden under Pieter de Ring. Records show that Nicolaes van Gelder must have been in Sweden in 1661 and in Denmark in 1664. As for most of the paintings by Gelder have Danish provenance; it is very likely that he painted most of his work in Denmark. There are only very few works by the artist on panel; two of them were sold as a pair at Christies (Sale 6744, Lot 43, 9 July 2003, London).
Working on panel allowed van Gelder to show a delicate rendition of colour and a very diligent approach to texture. His most famous work is certainly the large still life of 1664 in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (Fig.1).
This painting presents a still life composition in the form of an upright triangle. A stone ledge, partly covered with draped green fabric is the base of the composition. Apart from the food depicted, there is a pewter platter, a Chinese porcelain bowl and a glass filled with white wine. The glass, which is placed in the middle of the console table, represents the summit of this triangular composition. Pears, oranges, grapes, berries and shellfish are presented within the triangle. The pewter platter in the foreground breaks the very formal composition, as does the draped peel of the orange on the right hand side of the ledge.
The rendition of the different items is delicately executed. In the reflection of light on the Venetian glass, one can even discern the window from where the exterior light comes. Together with the reflections on the pewter plate in the foreground, the balance of highlights in the painting is a masterly achievement.
Private Collection Switzerland
Fig. 1 Nicolaes van Gelder, Still Life, canvas, 110,5 x 88 cm, signed and dated, 1664, ⒸAmsterdam Rijksmuseum