Pronk Still Lifes are ornate 17th Century oil masters usually interpreted as a form of vanitas painting that conveys a moral lesson.
It is perhaps not surprising that Jeroen Luijt’s photography should be infused with the spirit of the Dutch Old Masters.
As he points out: “I live in the center of Amsterdam; I have the 17th century all around me.” His passion for still life began in front of the Rijksmuseum’s collections of Jan van Huysum (1682–1749), Pieter Claesz (1597–1660) and Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641).
It wasn’t until he embarked on a four year education at the city’s Photo Academy, however, that he struck on the idea of making his own.
Lujit nowadays has attracted the attention of critics and collectors alike for his dramatic images, rich in detail and symbolism that blend the classical and the personal, the old mastery with modern photography.
The results are frequently mistaken for oil paintings. Luijt draws heavily from painterly traditions – laden with symbols that have historically represented the emotions, wealth and life—it is the challenges of the photographic process that really fascinate him. “When taking a photo, what you see is what you get. If there’s a reflection of light on a glass, you will see that reflection. When an object is shown balanced on the edge of the table you actually have to balance it there. Painting is hard, of course, but sometimes it’s easier to paint reality than to photograph it.