Pieter Claesz. (Dutch, about 1597–1660), Still Life with Silver Brandy Bowl, Wine Glass, Herring, and Bread, 1642. Oil on panel, 29.9 x 35.9 cm (11 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.), Bequest of Mrs. Edward Wheelwright, 13.459 © 2018 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Claesz. specialized in the monochrome “breakfast piece,” a type of still life that presents the makings of a modest meal, primarily in related shades of muted green, gray, and brown. He usually approached his subject from a low vantage point, created a sense of depth by overlapping objects and blurring the edges of those farther back. Knife handles often project over the edge of the table, extending the composition into the viewer’s own space; this device also creates a sense of instability that plays against the careful and harmonious arrangement of objects on the table.