Still life

still-lifestill lifesstill livesstill-lifesstill life paintingsstill-life paintingstill-livesflowersanimals, flowers, and fruitfloral arrangements
A still life (plural: still lifes) is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which are either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, shells, etc.) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, etc.).wikipedia
1,479 Related Articles

Vanitas

vanityVanitas VanitatumAll is in vain!
These vanitas images have been re-interpreted through the last 400 years of art history, starting with Dutch painters around 1600. Northern still lifes had many subgenres; the breakfast piece was augmented by the trompe-l'œil, the flower bouquet, and the vanitas.
Best-known are vanitas still lifes, a common genre in Netherlandish art of the 16th and 17th centuries; they have also been created at other times and in other media and genres.

Hierarchy of genres

most-elevated genrecategory of paintinggenre
Still life occupied the lowest rung of the hierarchy of genres, but has been extremely popular with buyers.
Still life

Pieter Aertsen

Aertsen, Pieter
This was a development by Pieter Aertsen, whose A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms (1551, now Uppsala) introduced the type with a painting that still startles.
He is credited with the invention of the monumental genre scene, which combines still life and genre painting and often also includes a biblical scene in the background.

A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms

This was a development by Pieter Aertsen, whose A Meat Stall with the Holy Family Giving Alms (1551, now Uppsala) introduced the type with a painting that still startles.
Thus, although the painting seems to be at first sight an ordinary still life concentrating on foodstuffs, it is rich with symbolism; it in fact hides a symbolic religious meaning, and embodies a visual metaphor encouraging spiritual life.

Genre painting

genregenre paintergenre scenes
As Pliny the Elder recorded in ancient Roman times, Greek artists centuries earlier were already advanced in the arts of portrait painting, genre painting and still life.
Joachim Patinir expanded his landscapes, making the figures a small element, and Pieter Aertsen painted works dominated by spreads of still life food and genre figures of cooks or market-sellers, with small religious scenes in spaces in the background.

Frans Snyders

SnydersSnijders, FransSnyders, Frans
The tradition continued into the next century, with several works by Rubens, who mostly sub-contracted the still-life and animal elements to specialist masters such as Frans Snyders and his pupil Jan Fyt. This style of ornate still-life painting was developed in the 1640s in Antwerp by Flemish artists such as Frans Snyders and Adriaen van Utrecht.
Frans Snyders or Frans Snijders (11 November 1579, Antwerp – 19 August 1657, Antwerp ) was a Flemish painter of animals, hunting scenes, market scenes and still lifes.

Genre art

genregenre worksgenre painter
Prominent Academicians of the early 17th century, such as Andrea Sacchi, felt that genre and still-life painting did not carry the "gravitas" merited for painting to be considered great.
Thus, genre works, especially when referring to the painting of the Dutch Golden Age and Flemish Baroque painting—the great periods of genre works—may also be used as an umbrella term for painting in various specialized categories such as still-life, marine painting, architectural painting and animal painting, as well as genre scenes proper where the emphasis is on human figures.

Juan Sánchez Cotán

CotánJuan SánchezSanchez Cottan
At the turn of the century the Spanish painter Juan Sánchez Cotán pioneered the Spanish still life with austerely tranquil paintings of vegetables, before entering a monastery in his forties in 1603, after which he painted religious subjects.
His still lifes—also called bodegones—were painted in an austere style, especially when compared to similar works in the Netherlands and Italy.

Cabinet of curiosities

cabinets of curiositiescabinetwunderkammer
In addition, wealthy patrons began to underwrite the collection of animal and mineral specimens, creating extensive cabinets of curiosities.
Sculpture both classical and secular (the sacrificing Libera, a Roman fertility goddess) on the one hand and modern and religious (Christ at the Column ) are represented, while on the table are ranged, among the exotic shells (including some tropical ones and a shark's tooth): portrait miniatures, gem-stones mounted with pearls in a curious quatrefoil box, a set of sepia chiaroscuro woodcuts or drawings, and a small still-life painting leaning against a flower-piece, coins and medals—presumably Greek and Roman—and Roman terracotta oil-lamps, a Chinese-style brass lock, curious flasks, and a blue-and-white Ming porcelain bowl.

Jan Brueghel the Elder

Jan BrueghelBrueghelBrueghel, Jan
Around 1600 flower paintings in oils became something of a craze; Karel van Mander painted some works himself, and records that other Northern Mannerist artists such as Cornelis van Haarlem also did so. No surviving flower-pieces by them are known, but many survive by the leading specialists, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Ambrosius Bosschaert, both active in the Southern Netherlands.
Brueghel worked in many genres including history paintings, flower still lifes, allegorical and mythological scenes, landscapes and seascapes, hunting pieces, village scenes, battle scenes and scenes of hellfire and the underworld.

Ambrosius Bosschaert

Ambrosius Bosschaert the ElderBosschaert, AmbrosiusAmbrosium Bosschaert the Younger
Around 1600 flower paintings in oils became something of a craze; Karel van Mander painted some works himself, and records that other Northern Mannerist artists such as Cornelis van Haarlem also did so. No surviving flower-pieces by them are known, but many survive by the leading specialists, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Ambrosius Bosschaert, both active in the Southern Netherlands.
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (18 January 1573 – 1621) was a still life painter of the Dutch Golden Age.

Daniel Seghers

Seghers, Daniël
Daniel Seghers developed the genre further.
Daniël Seghers or Daniel Seghers (3 December 1590 – 2 November 1661 ) was a Flemish Jesuit brother and painter who specialized in flower still lifes.

Adriaen van Utrecht

Utrecht, Adriaen van
This style of ornate still-life painting was developed in the 1640s in Antwerp by Flemish artists such as Frans Snyders and Adriaen van Utrecht.
Adriaen van Utrecht (Antwerp, 12 January 1599 – 1652) was a Flemish painter known mainly for his sumptuous banquet still lifes, game and fruit still lifes, fruit garlands, market and kitchen scenes and depictions of live poultry in farmyards.

Pronkstilleven

ostentatious still lifes
A special genre of still life was the so-called pronkstilleven (Dutch for 'ostentatious still life').
Pronkstilleven (Dutch for 'ostentatious', 'ornate' or 'sumptuous' still life) is a style of ornate still life painting, which was developed in the 1640s in Antwerp from where it spread quickly to the Dutch Republic.

Dutch Golden Age painting

Dutch Golden Age painterDutch Golden AgeDutch
Northern still lifes had many subgenres; the breakfast piece was augmented by the trompe-l'œil, the flower bouquet, and the vanitas.
The other traditional classes of history and portrait painting were present, but the period is more notable for a huge variety of other genres, sub-divided into numerous specialized categories, such as scenes of peasant life, landscapes, townscapes, landscapes with animals, maritime paintings, flower paintings and still lifes of various types.

Art of the Low Countries

Netherlandishart of the pre-1830 Low CountriesEarly Netherlandish
Still life, as a particular genre, began with Netherlandish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the English term still life derives from the Dutch word stilleven.
Dutch and Flemish painters both followed many of the same themes, including still life, genre, landscape, portraiture and classicism.

Basket of Fruit (Caravaggio)

Basket of FruitFruit basket
His Basket of Fruit (c. 1595–1600) is one of the first examples of pure still life, precisely rendered and set at eye level.
Basket of Fruit (c.1599) is a still life painting by the Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610), which hangs in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosian Library), Milan.

Bodegón

bodegonesbodegon
In Spanish art, a bodegón is a still-life painting depicting pantry items, such as victuals, game, and drink, often arranged on a simple stone slab, and also a painting with one or more figures, but significant still-life elements, typically set in a kitchen or tavern.
In Spanish art, a bodegón is a still life painting depicting pantry items, such as victuals, game, and drink, often arranged on a simple stone slab, and also a painting with one or more figures, but with significant still life elements, typically set in a kitchen or tavern.

Anne Vallayer-Coster

The bulk of Anne Vallayer-Coster's work was devoted to the language of still life as it had been developed in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Anne Vallayer-Coster (21 December 1744 – 28 February 1818) was an 18th-century French painter best known for still lifes.

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin

ChardinJean Siméon ChardinJean-Siméon Chardin
Jean-Baptiste Chardin painted small and simple assemblies of food and objects in a most subtle style that both built on the Dutch Golden Age masters, and was to be very influential on 19th-century compositions.
He is considered a master of still life, and is also noted for his genre paintings which depict kitchen maids, children, and domestic activities.

Georg Flegel

German still life followed closely the Dutch models; Georg Flegel was a pioneer in pure still life without figures and created the compositional innovation of placing detailed objects in cabinets, cupboards, and display cases, and producing simultaneous multiple views.
Georg Flegel (1566 Olomouc – 23 March 1638, Frankfurt-am-Main) was a German painter, best known for his still life works.

Northern Mannerism

ManneristMannerismNorthern Mannerist
Around 1600 flower paintings in oils became something of a craze; Karel van Mander painted some works himself, and records that other Northern Mannerist artists such as Cornelis van Haarlem also did so. No surviving flower-pieces by them are known, but many survive by the leading specialists, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Ambrosius Bosschaert, both active in the Southern Netherlands.
Still-life painting, usually mostly of flowers and insects, also emerged as a genre during the period, re-purposing the inherited tradition of late Netherlandish miniature borders; Jan Brueghel the Elder also painted these.

Gustave Courbet

CourbetGustav CourbetCourbet, Gustave
The still-life paintings of Francisco Goya, Gustave Courbet, and Eugène Delacroix convey a strong emotional current, and are less concerned with exactitude and more interested in mood.
Courbet's subsequent paintings were mostly of a less overtly political character: landscapes, seascapes, hunting scenes, nudes and still lifes.

Impressionism

impressionistImpressionistsimpressionistic
However, it was not until the final decline of the Academic hierarchy in Europe, and the rise of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters, that technique and colour harmony triumphed over subject matter, and that still life was once again avidly practiced by artists.
Previously, still lifes and portraits as well as landscapes were usually painted in a studio.

Henri Fantin-Latour

Fantin-LatourFantin Latour
Henri Fantin-Latour, using a more traditional technique, was famous for his exquisite flower paintings and made his living almost exclusively painting still life for collectors.
Whistler brought attention to Fantin in England, where his still-lifes sold so well that they were "practically unknown in France during his lifetime".