Free delivery on all orders over £150

MARLO MEETS: TJALF SPARNAAY

This week we meet Tjalf Sparnaay, a Dutch artist painting in the style of one of the most intricate and demanding movements, Hyperrealism. An art genre intended to reproduce the detail and finish of a photograph by suppressing the identity of the artist through ultimate precision, adding a metaphorical layer that shows beauty in its utmost purity.

Tjalf is renowned for being one of the world's leading Hyperrealists, widely acclaimed for his depictions of mundane objects such as eggs, hamburgers and coke cans. His work creates a form of Trompe l'oeil, tricking the viewer into believing that a flat painting is three-dimensional.

We have the pleasure of talking with Tjalf, hearing how the pandemic has affected his work, what the future of hyperrealism holds and whether he prefers Van Dyck or Van Dijk.


1. Has the pandemic affected your work at all, or for an artist has it been business as usual?

It has affected me indeed, but positively. People are locked in their homes and start restyling or suddenly feel the need of art I suppose. Many limited editions have been ordered, and since I became Brilliant Artist of the year in the Netherlands there have been many commissions as well!

2. ‘The Grape’ is very important in the history of art. What is your favourite painting depicting wine and why?

I have always loved the work of Willem Claesz Heda (Haarlem, 1594 – circa 1680). I love the harmonic disorder and superb details.



3. If you could have dinner with four people, dead or alive, who would they be and which restaurant would you take them too?

First of all my wife, secondly the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung whose theory of 'the growing and the unconsciousness' influenced and inspired me to view personal and artistic growth as a major goal in life. Thirdly, Johannes Vermeer, the Dutch painter who influenced me so much in depicting the beauty of the commonplace. And last but not least, Eve, to see her beauty when she’s eating the starter, an apple.

4. Do you own a Roemer and If so what do you prefer to drink from it?

No, unfortunately I broke the one I once had.

5. Anthony van Dyck or Virgil van Dijk?!

Virgil no doubt, he should be and is a role model for all spoiled football ego’s.

6. If you could own one painting in the world, what would it be?

Claude Monet’s painting of a little house on a cliff in Varengeville, Normandy. Full of light and colours, overlooking a warm turquoise sea.

7. If you weren't an artist what would you be?

An Astronomer, looking for extra-terrestrial life in the Universe.

8. What do you see as the future of Hyperrealism; do you think it will continue to grow?

I suppose more and more guys will practice this painstaking technique, but I really hope some of them will think about what story is behind it, searching for true content and new interesting subjects. Many of them are stuck at the photocopying part - it's such a shame and a pity for all the hard work.

9. Do you find that wine aids the creative process of painting, or do you prefer to enjoy a glass after you've finished?

I never work drinking - impossible and uncomfortable. But as soon the work is done, the glass is filled!

10. When and where (Covid permitting), is your next scheduled exhibition?

Nothing is scheduled now, it's wonderful! But I am sure some museum will show up again soon. I don’t do gallery shows anymore, I feel comfortable just doing my own business!

 Marlo are delighted to announce that we now feature in the 'Top 50 UK Wine Blogs' - Find the full list here.

Image 1: Tjalf Sparnaay
Image 2: Salome Art
Image 3: Mutual Art
Image 4: WikiArt
Image 5: Design Inspiration