Skip to main content

Banquet Piece (work of art)

Artwork Info

circa 1635
31 5/16 x 36 7/8 inches (79.5 x 93.7 centimeters)


Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina

Object Number
Dutch European
European to 1910

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

  • This is a still life painting. Still life paintings depict natural (usually nonliving) or human-made objects. This type of painting was successful in the Netherlands in the 17th century. 
  • Common still life subjects include flower bouquets, banquet tables, or market stalls. This painting’s table incorporates objects made of different materials. In this still life painting, the artist demonstrates his ability to paint detail and texture.
  • Still lifes can also communicate messages about religion, politics, or society. This painting depicts a messy banquet with expensive products. In the 17th century, the colonization and trade efforts of the Dutch were profitable. The wasteful display on the table demonstrates the country’s financial success.

Learn More

Dominated by an owl-topped gold goblet (the artist’s name means owl in Dutch), this seventeenth-century still life is a descendant of innovative pictures like Aertsen’s Meat Stall, also in this gallery. The painting is a type known as a banquet piece. In it the various surfaces and textures of the luxury pewter, gold, silver, and glass tableware, as well as the food and white linen tablecloth, are all meticulously rendered.

Within a single painting, several meanings and concerns compete with each other: the artist’s skill, the prosperity of the Dutch economy, the flourishing art market, and anxieties about overindulgence and ostentatious display.

Additional Resources

Resources for Teachers: 

  • Read an article about the history of still life painting in Northern Europe.
  • Read an article that explores the term “Dutch Golden Age.” 
  • Watch a video that explains the time period during which this painting was made.


Resources for Students:


  • An oil painting of a table with a white tablecloth in front of a plain wall. The table is scattered with food and drinks. Two containers, made of pewter and glass, are overturned near the edge of the table. A gold centerpiece and a tall flute glass tower over the objects in the center of the painting. The neck of a lute leans against the table.

    Banquet Piece