early 17th Century artist - and especially the above painting,
recently acquired by the Met.
Kirby is a self-described "Lutheran Surrealist"
and though I have no idea what this might entail,
the above painting would seem to qualify.
It seems so mysterious, doesn't it ?
But it's just an ordinary box
beside some ordinary sea shells.
But what's extraordinary,
is how well everything fits together,
as if the universe,
from the bottom of the sea,
to the top of the woodworker's bench,
had produced each
only for the purpose of complementing
the visuality of the other.
(especially those happily placed metal
staples, and the fine proportions that
result from their placement)
the rest of Stoskopff's known work
is not so happily arranged,
and the larger paintings
begin to feel like catalogs
instead of revelations.
So... I've cut out the above wonderful detail
from a much larger painting
.. and did the same with this,
both of which come from the Kunstmuseum Basel
(which deserves full credit for being one of the very few museums
to provide big, fat, tasty reproductions of its collection online.)
Here's another complete painting
which I think belongs in the canon of Lutheran-Surrealist art.
(i.e. -- items which might be found on the set
of an Ingmar Bergman film)
Stoskopff (1597-1657) was almost
an exact contemporary of Zurbaran (1598-1664)
and it's interesting to compare the still-life painted by each.
Here , for example, is a Zurbaran version,
just as wacky and strange as Stoskopff,
but in its own Spanish/Moorish way.