Adriaen Coorte

Adriaen Coorte c. 1665–1707/10

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Little is known about this still-life painter. He worked in Middelburg, where he was a member of the St Luke's Guild. Coorte's favourite subjects were still lifes with gooseberries, asparagus or shells. Although some of his compositions were complex, his strength lay in the simple depiction of a single, brilliantly lit object against a dark background.

Coorte developed his subjects in detail and was able to make elegant use of light in his compositions. Many of Coorte's still lifes are painted on paper pasted onto panel, which was an unusual method in the seventeenth century.

Adriaen Coorte produced mostly small and intimate still lifes. The subjects were simple like asparagus, berries, peaches, chestnuts or shells. His paintings were modest and are in stark contrast with the paintings from his collegues that painted still lifes around 1700. In this period, few specialized still life painters were active in the Northern Netherlands.

Where other artists showed a keen interest in abundance and opulence in their still lifes, Coorte focused on detail and simplicity.The fashion of still lifes in the 17th century was to show super abundance and costly objects and foodstuffs.

In the work of Coorte the attention is focused on the refined rendering of a single simple vegetable or fruit.Today, Coorte's work is extremely popular with art lovers.

The modesty of his paintings seems to determine his ever-increasing popularity. This modesty is evident not only from the simplicity of the subjects, but also from the often small size of the paintings.Coorte portrayed fruit with the precision of a scientist. By isolating it, it is as if he wanted to get to the very essence of a peach or a gooseberry.

“A Bowl of Strawberries on a Stone Plinth”, “Three Peaches on a Stone Plinth”, “A Sprig of Gooseberries on a Stone Plinth” and “Four Apricots on a Stone Plinth” are all part of the Rijksmuseum Collection in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Although these four paintings were not conceived as a series, they have formed an ensemble since the second half of the 18th century.


Adriaen Coorte

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