Dutch still live paintings featuring food were all the rage in the Golden Age. Willem Claeszoon Heda (1594-1680) was particularly good at them. Hanneke Sanou looks a the hidden meanings in his Breakfast with Crab
All is vanity
1 An ‘ontbijtje’, or small breakfast, is a particular genre in Dutch 17th century still life painting, as were flower pieces, banquet pieces, paintings featuring dead animals and Vanitas paintings. But all were really vanitas paintings, or paintings that reminded the rich burghers of the Netherlands that everything – including their wealth – was transient.
2 This still life is called Breakfast with Crab. Did people in the Golden Age really have crab first thing in the morning? According to food historian Gillian Riley some did indeed have fish, or pie, for breakfast (accompanied by a frothy tankard of beer) but most would have