Clara Peeters (1594-1657) was a Baroque Flemish woman painter… too many adjectives and too important. Baroque! Yes, the golden age of painting. Flemish! Yes, a place to learn art since it was the country of Rubens or Van Dyck. Woman! Today a word which forces investigation since everyday we find more women’s works hidden in the cellars of the old museum.
The first time I saw Clara Peeters’ paintings was in Madrid, in the Prado Museum (they have 4 works of the Royal Collection). All of them are Still Life paintings and I was specially impressed by one of them: in a bronze vase was reflected the image of Clara, as a mirror which trapped her memory for us.
In those years, Still Life meant the brevity of life and it had a religious call, it remembered that people was in the Earth only to reach eternity, a place where nothing is damaged. We are here as in a mirror, as in Clara Peeters’ bronze mirror, to learn how to behave correctly and to earn our place alongside the fair.
I don’t know if Clara earned her site in Heaven but here (and after dark times), she is increasingly popular for her precise brushstroke, her perfect textures and, of course, her Baroque meanings.
She is, as every old feminine artist, an enigma which data deleted the malicious time. We only can understand her trough her paintings: it is not nevertheless difficult, at least for a sensitive person.
Written by Isabel del Rio. She has published “The Girls of Oil” (akron publishers, 2010), an essay about old woman painters. http://www.isabeldelrio.es