Kitchen Still Life with Snails, Fish and Eggs
Hungarian National Gallery
Painting (still life)
Unknown painter from Eperjes (Prešov)
late 17th–early 18th century
Oil on canvas
Eperjes (Prešov) (?)
H: 70.6 cm; w: 67 cm
Kitchen Still Life with Snails, Fish and Eggs is part of a series of three table-top still life paintings that may hint at the discipline of Lenten fasting. They each seem to display foods, the consumption or preparation of which was allowable during the period of self-denial. The empty copper dishes and the cucumbers near them on one of the tables may refer to the Good Friday menu; another table bears apples, snails, fish, eggs, cheese and onions, foods which are also acceptable during the fasting period. The pail in the background probably contains a dairy product. In the third ensemble, besides the greenery, there are cheese, offal and plucked quails on display, and even some wine bottles. The menu here is of a richer, more permissive diet. The white napkins, executed in a particularly clumsy manner, contrast with the dishes and wicker objects painted with almost a craftsman-like gusto. Dark details tending towards black make sterner the characteristic colours of off-white and greyish brown, with a few green and timed yellow patches. As if to limit the pleasure of the eye by some puritanical consideration, the domestic and parochial spirit of a prim and eagerly careful arrangement surrounds the unconsciously arranged kitchen articles. There is no doubt that these still life paintings support the aims of the burghers, possibly contrary to the spirit of the environment in which the painting was executed. Regards dating, it is difficult to identify the period as adequate Hungarian analogies lack, but in looking further, we might set the Eperjes (Prešov) still life paintings beside the works of Martin Dichtl (1639/40–1710). However, the fact that the Kramers – a painter family from Eperjes (Prešov) – produced portraits in the spirit of the 17th century, but a century later, demands the utmost caution, as the Kramers among others could have worked on occasional still life works as well. Nevertheless, mention of a member of the Kramer family, Peter, in a document of 1643 in Eperjes (Prešov) means that he should be included among the possible painters of these three pictures.View Short Description
By stylistic analysis
Purchased for the Hungarian National Gallery from an art dealer.
Mojzer, M., “Magyarországi csendéletek a XVII. és a XVIII. századból.” (“17th–18th-Century Still Life from Hungary”), Művészettörténeti Értesítő, XXXI, 1982, pp. 255–256.
Mojzer, M., (ed) “Painting still life East of the River Leithe” The Metamorphosis of Themes: Secular Subjects in the Art of the Baroque in Central Europe, exhibition catalogue, Budapest, 1993, pp. 87–88.
Miklós Mojzer "Kitchen Still Life with Snails, Fish and Eggs" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;hu;Mus11;2;en&id=still_life
Prepared by: Miklós Mojzer
Copyedited by: Terézia BardiTerézia Bardi
NAME: Terézia Anna
AFFILIATION: National Trust of Monuments for Hungary
TITLE: Art Historian, Vice Director for Research at The National Trust of
Monuments for Hungary; MWNF DBA local co-ordinator (Hungary), author
Terézia Bardi, Vice Director for Research at the National Trust of Monuments for Hungary since 2004, was awarded her MA in History and History of Art at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. After a period of fellowships mainly in Italy, Terézia gained her PhD from the Faculty of Art History at the same university for her thesis Presentation and Representation – the European Reception of the Liberation of Buda in 1686: Feast and Public Opinion. Her main fields of research are 17th-and18th-century Baroque and Rococo: the spectacles, festival decorations and associated iconography – including theatre productions of the period – and interior decoration of historic houses. Since 1988, she has edited a number of art historical books that include some on Oriental art and architecture. She is MWNF DBA’s local (Hungarian) co-ordinator, author and copy-editor.
Translation by: Viktor Mészáros
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: HU 02