Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit, 1814
Oil on panel
Still Life with Liqueur and Fruit is an exceptional early example of Raphaelle Peale’s “dining room pictures” and is one of only some 50 examples known today. The artist’s still lifes were considered extraordinary long before the vogue for still life took hold later in the century. Delicacies from far-off origins, associated with the types of desserts offered in well-to-do households, are presented here in tempting detail. The meticulously rendered textures and skillfully executed reflections underscore Peale’s interest in scientific naturalism. The flawlessly balanced composition speaks to the desire in the early Republic for rational order, although the suggestion of extravagance simmers just below the surface.