Fine Art : Still Life Painting

A still life (from the Dutch, stilleven) is a painting presenting an arrangement of lifeless, everyday objects, regardless of whether natural objects (flowers, food, wine, dead fish, and game, and so forth.) or produced items (books, bottles, ceramics, and so forth.). The Tate Museum Glossary puts it compactly, defining the subject of a still life as “anything that does not move or is dead.” In French, the still life is called nature morte, (literally “dead nature”).

A still life painting can be realistic or abstract, based on the specific time and culture in which it was made, and on the specific style of the artist. The still life painting is a well known class on the grounds that the artist has absolute control over the subject of the painting, the lighting, and the context. The artist can utilize the still life symbolically or figuratively to express a thought, or formally to examine composition and the elements and principles of art.

History of Still Life Painting

In spite of the fact that painting of items have been in presence since ancient Egypt Greece, still life painting as a unique artistic expression started in post-Renaissance Western art. In ancient Egypt, individuals painted objects and food in tombs and sanctuaries as offerings to the divine beings (god) and for the dead to appreciate in the afterlife. These paintings were flat, graphic representations of their subjects, normal of Egyptian painting. The old Greeks also joined still life subjects into their vases, wall paintings, and mosaics. These paintings, featuring and shadows, were more realistic than the Egyptians’, however not exact as far as perspectives.

Still life painting turned into its very own art form in the sixteenth century. A panel painting by the Venetian artist Jacopo de’ Barbari (1440-1516)— presently on display in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich—is considered by numerous historian to be the primary genuine still life. The painting, finished in 1504, portrays a dead partridge and a couple of iron gloves, or gauntlets.

According to the BBC documentary “Apples, Pears and Paint: How to Make a Still Life Drawing (Painting),” Caravaggio’s “Basket of Fruit,” painted in 1597, is recognized as the first major work of the Western still life genre.

The height of still life painting came in 17th century Holland. Artists such as Jan Brueghel, Pieter Clausz, and others painted opulent, highly detailed, and realistic images of flower bouquets and tables laden with lavish bowls of fruit and game. These paintings celebrated the seasons and reflected the era’s scientific interest in the natural world. They also served as status symbols and were highly sought after. Many artists sold their works through auctions.

Images of still life painting

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