Samuel van Hoogstraten – Letter Board (1666 – 1678)

Letter Board or Letter Rack with Medal and Own Plays is one such trompe-l’oeil still life, completed between 1666 and 1678. The various objects are seemingly strapped to the board with red leather bands and many of them appear in other paintings as well. For starters, we have the gold medal with the effigy of Emperor Ferdinand III and the chain received as a gift, here adorned with a bow.

Carel Willink – Wilma (1932)

I have come to the conclusion that every artist should marry or enter a long term relationship just so that they can paint and sketch a model always at their disposal. This worked wonders for Picasso and many others, who repeatedly featured their lovers and spouses. For Dutch artist Carel Willink, his second wife –…

Marinus van Reymerswaele – The Moneychanger and his Wife (1538)

Today’s post is rather unusual, since it’s about a copy of a better known painting. Some of you may already be familiar with The Moneylender and his Wife by Quentin Massys, a moralizing artwork about the depravity of money that keeps a couple away from spiritual enlightenment. It’s a highly complex painting, with lots of…

M.C. Escher – Relativity (1953)

Fascinated with science and mathematics, Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher tested the perception of reality in his highly elaborate lithographs, woodcuts and mezzotints. Although associated with Surrealism due to the fantastical imagery he depicted, the Dutchman never saw himself as belonging to any movement and approached his art with the rigor of a scientist and…

Vincent van Gogh – Green Wheat Fields, Auvers (1890)

After having a severe nervous breakdown during which he cuts his own ear and being institutionalized in an asylum for a year, Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh moves to northern France, to Auvers-sur-Oise, to start afresh. He was hoping that his mental frailty was a consequence of the strong impressions and strident colors of Arles…

Pieter Bruegel the Elder – Netherlandish Proverbs (1559)

With his keen understanding of the human condition and his appreciation for nature, Pieter Bruegel the Elder captured the daily life of peasants with satire, humor and sympathy. Although he was less moralizing and more anchored in reality, you can still notice Hieronymus Bosch’s influence in his art. Bruegel died young, when he was around…