A comparison of two different still lifes, in two periods. "Handsome Drinks" By Marsden Hartley and "Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill" By Pieter Claesz

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The paintings are at the Met, in NY. She loved it!


December 1, 1996

A Comparison of Two Different Still Life's in Different periods.

In this report I will discuss two different still life's, and explain their differences, and similarities. I will attempt to explain the meaning and general feeling that each work of art gave me. I chose these because they caught my eye, and they had very intricate meanings that had to be found. The two paintings I am reporting about are Handsome Drinks, By Marsden Hartley (1916) and Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill, By Pieter Claesz (1597/98-1660).

Marsden Hartley, Handsome Drinks (1916):

This painting is of four drinking vessels, on a round table. In the center is a large Chalice, from which a mandorla arises. Three smaller vesselsare in the foreground. The first one on the left is Absinthe, a drink that was popular in the 20's and 30's that caused hallucinations, mental deteriorations, and sterility.

It is green and has a spoon with a sugar cube on it on top. To the right is a Manhattan Cocktail. It is red, and has a cherry in it. At right is a cup and saucer. To the right of the big chalice is a sugar dispenser. "LUS" is written horizontally to the left of the big chalice in red, and "LOGH" is written vertically to the right of the big chalice in blue. The meaning of this painting has stayed a mystery for many years. The artist denies to have painted this painting with any covert meaning but experts believe that this painting has very deep meaning. The mandorla is a very popular shape in many Hartley paintings, and Jesus was often painted inside mandorla's.

It is not painted realistically. It is...