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On a tabletop spread with an ivory-white cloth, plates and white porcelain bowls containing sweets, fruit, olives, and a cooked fowl are arranged around the largest platter, which holds the head, wings, and tail of a peacock stuck into a tall, baked pie, in this horizontal still life painting. The front, left corner of the table is near the lower left corner of the painting, so the tabletop extends off the right side of the composition. The white tablecloth lies over a second cloth underneath, which is only visible along the right edge. The cloth underneath has a leafy, geometric pattern in burgundy red against a lighter, rose-red background. The peacock pie is set near the back of the table, to our right, so it fills the upper right quadrant of the composition. The bird holds a pink rose in its beak. In front of it, near the lower right corner of the painting, a white porcelain bowl painted with teal-green floral and geometric designs holds about ten pieces of pale yellow and blush-red fruit. A pewter plate next to it, to our left, holds dried fruit and baked, stick-like sweets, some covered with white sugar. A pile of salt sits atop a gold, square vessel between the sweets and the peacock pie. Another blue-patterned, white porcelain bowl filled with green olives sits near the back of the table next to a lidded, pewter pitcher with a long spout. Other pewter plates hold a baked fowl, like a small chicken, and, closest to us, a partially cut lemon with its peel curling off the plate. Nuts, more fruit, an ivory-handled knife, bread rolls, and flat biscuits sit on the white cloth among the plates. One glass with a wide stem covered in nubs and a flaring bowl sits near the back, left corner of the table, filled with a pale yellow liquid. An empty glass lies with the upper rim on another pewter plate, to our left. Also on the plate is a bunched up white napkin and a leather case for the knife. The background behind the still life is coffee brown.

Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Peacock Pie, 1627, oil on panel, The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund , 2013.141.1

A Feast for the Senses: Writing about Food in Art and Life

  • Saturday, November 13, 2021
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • Registration Required
  • Virtual Program

Workshop guided by Anamaria Anderson, local writer, translator, and museum educator

Experience food's power to evoke memories, enliven stories, and connect people across time and place. Dutch still life paintings in the National Gallery's collection inspire our food writing techniques in this virtual workshop.

Have your preferred writing implements or software for this workshop. 

Questions? Send a message to [email protected]