UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
CRITIC. KUTAN AYATA
PARTNER. BUMJIN PARK
STILL LIFE WITH EWER,VESSELS,AND POMEGRANATE
WILLEM KALF, 1644 - 2015
SGT. PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
PETER BLAKE, 1967
Alchemy, unbeknownst to the average man, was an inconspicuous hobby around Kalf’s wealthy clientele. A fascination gleaned from the Parisian upper class in which he often painted. After much persuasion and persistence on Kalf’s behalf, the vessel was later brought back by Kalf to his native country, The Netherlands, where much suspicion was raised among his circle of artists. It became an object of notoriety and was highly desired to be included among the depictions of the Dutch elite’s possessions.
Although its function can only be speculated, only contradictory notes have been found in past alchemist’s sketchbooks, it was believed to be used for the mixing of a potent elixir, depending on the exactitude and skill of the alchemist at hand, this process could have been potentially fatal. There are two open channels that can be seen in which each chemical is added. Initially independent from each other, the chemicals continue to progress downward until they combine in the chamber at the base of the object changing state and creating gas. This gas then rises to the pinched top of the central vessel where it accumulates, liquifies, and then drips to be stored and poured as necessary.
The alchemical vessel was forgotten about for several centuries until the rise of the counterculture of the sixties. The vessel was given to George Harrison during his trip to India, and found its way into popular eye after being situated to the left of Harrison on the album cover for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Subsequent to this inclusion, several counterfeits were produced and distributed among the youth of the time solidifying its place among the most sought after of the underground. File this one under the peculiar, the obsolete and the parafictional.