As part of the 50th Congress of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva on 12 to 16 September 2022, you can enjoy a selection of Flemish paintings that all have one theme in common: ceramic objects.
Melting Pot, the theme chosen for this congress, couldn’t be better suited to Flemish painting. Referring in a metaphorical sense to the way in which societies tend to become homogeneous and universal as soon as exchanges occur between cultures, it wonderfully describes the dynamics of the art market in Flanders at that time.
The delicate Wan-Li porcelain from China that sublimates Jan van Kessel’s still lifes is the mark of intense trade with « the Indies ». Symbols of luxury that represented a yet unknown savoir-faire at the time, these chinoiseries typify the taste for the Far East that reigned in the 17th century.
Earthenware was in everyday use in Flanders long before trade began with China. Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s peasants use pitchers, jars and jugs for cooking, preserving and drinking, while in Pieter Huys’ paintings these objects are transformed into outlandish chimneys. As such, Flemish painting uniquely traces the richness and diversity of universal cultures.