It is the jug that reminds one of Velazquez’ impressively masculine Waterseller.

De Jaegher seems here less interested in fleeting textural effects than in the play of light and the analytical rendering of surfaces and objects. Moreover, the vertical jug composition breathes a stillness of meditation thanks to another daring balance. The superimposed, deeply furrowed loafs of bread dwarf the strategically located, velvetish purple figs near the table edge on the left. As always in De Jaegher’s still-lifes a deep, dark background serves as the binding element for the objects presented. Unusual, however, is De Jaegher’s suggestion of a puritan, Spartan meal -announcing perhaps a cautious turn to vanitas. As it is, The painting does not aspire to the monastic rigour of the late 16th century Carthusian friar Juan Sanchez Coton; rather it pacifies the emotions in the beholder’s mind and, far from being ostentatious in its new turn, it refreshes overall aesthetic experience.

Guy de Jaegher is one of those contemporary artists who endeavour to perpetuate 17th century still-life, when things were important. They still are, of course, but now due to growing vulgar materialism. Today we no longer believe that God created things by imprinting Himself on them; to us, things have become mere commodities – value for money.
A still-life painter like De Jaegher empowers things and restores them to their former status by isolating them as unique objects laden with rich meaning and great tactile quality. Disconnected from daily use they are proudly displaced, a feast of wonder and delight for the attentive, probing eye. The path to understanding and enjoyment is, as always, through the senses, sight prime – since vision engages the sublime.

Lately, De Jaegher has pushed the traditional craft skills to new heights. In his scrupulously meticulous work he never fails his minute composition. Adopting the style of his devoted masters, he has unearthed their secrets and delicate brushwork. For many years he has studied their science of pigments, the tempera paint techniques, zinc white versus flake white, linseed oil, stand oil, Venetian turpentine...

Guy de Jaegher’s style not only profits from his applied study of Europe’s great technical traditions. His ultimate craft matches what we, postmodern viewers, experience as integrated, consummate art. The great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer would have loved De Jaegher’s peaceful, spiritualised and disinterested still-lifes liberated from contemporary, restless subjectivism and personal, egotistic mythology – transforming daily food in a light that appears to shine out of its subject, changing nature into art. In spite of the artist’s high degree of integrity and fidelity to the nature and setting of the painted objects, his still-lifes do not imitate reality.
Their perfect rendering offer the shining gate through which every open-minded beholder can enter a stilled world of inner calm and quiet harmony.

Frans Boenders
Member of AICA, Honorary President of the Koninklijke Academie van België voor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.