Thursday, February 27, 2014

Painting of the Day: The Oyster Meal

The Victoria & Albert Museum

You may feel that this scene of seduction in which a young woman, seated at a table covered with a Turkish blanket, is familiar. She is offered a meal of oysters and white wine by an older man standing beside her, and she already holds a glass of wine and an oyster, and looks slightly flushed in her fur-trimmed cape and a silk white dress. A curtained bed--the symbol of the man's scheme--is depicted behind them.

This is one of several versions of this scene by Frans van Mieris (1635-1681) who was trained by Abraham Toorenvliet (ca. 1620-1692) and by Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), one of the most eminent Rembrandt's pupils in Leyden. Van Mieris was known for small scale genre painting with exquisite refinement and his skill in representing all sorts of textures: such as the fur-trimmed cape and a white silk dress as well as the sparkles of light reflecting in the jar, the tin plate and the glass.

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