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Breakfast With a Lobster

M. Therese Southgate, MD
JAMA. 2008;299(18):2127. doi:10.1001/jama.299.18.2127.
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The Dutch of the Golden Age, it would seem, never tired of looking. And when they looked, they painted. Not just the grand vistas of the sky and sea that surrounded them, but the interiors of their homes, too, and the marketplace, the churches, even the taverns. Whether ships in a harbor, cows in a pasture, flowers in a vase, tulips (especially tulips), the Dutch painted them. They painted their bedchambers and their scrubbed-clean kitchens. They painted what they ate and what they drank, and the plates, glasses, and utensils they used for eating and drinking. They painted simple tables laid for breakfast or groaning banquet tables that betrayed their abundance. Whatever could be touched, tasted, smelled, or seen sooner or later appeared on canvas.

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Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680), Breakfast With a Lobster, 1648, Dutch. Oil on canvas. 118 × 118 cm. Courtesy of The State Hermitage Museum (http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/), St Petersburg, Russia. Photograph © The State Hermitage Museum.

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