Wednesday, March 5, 2014
What is Still-Life?
The art of still life is capturing a group or single inanimate object to represent different things. Throughout history the meanings of still lives have varied. They can reflect the status of the owner; for their symbolic meaning; to capture the natural beauty of the object; or as a controlled structure to express the abstract elements of the visual elements.
Still lives have been drawn and painted since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Although there aren't many accounts of art history of that time we have one book by Pliny. This tells the stories of still lives of that time using them as competitions to fool your opponent. In that time the Romans used still lives to show off their technical skills of painting. Still lives were not seen as a way of expression.
Before the 17th century many fruits had different meanings or symbols; for example the cherry heaven, and the pomegranate represented the resurrection of christ. However, during the Reformation, the demand of still lives shot up because of the increase in collectors. At this time still lives depicted lavish styles of living along with banquets. Another popular subject of a still life of that time were objects warning us of our mortality such as hour glasses, skulls, the burning candle, exc.
It was not until the 18th century that still lives became a major art form. These were made famous by the work of Chardin.