Have you ever wondered what is the beauty of still life paintings and what is their meaning? The beginnings of still life paintings are a long time ago. Тhey date back to ancient Egyptian culture. The ancient Egyptians painted a different kind of food on the tombs, believing that the food will be able for deceased in afterlife. The ancient Egyptians actually painted the still life, but the rise and development of Still Life Paint was from Middle Age to 20th century. During its development, the elements and the theme of Still Life Paintings have been changed, but the base and meaning have stayed the same till today. Still Life Paint is picture genre, which depicting inanimate subjects, some of natural origin such as food, flower, plants, rocks, dead animals or subjects which are made by man, such as vases, pipes, books, jewelry etc. And the motives and themes have been changed during different epochs.
Development Of Still Life Paint
Ancient Beginning. The ancient Egyptians and Romans began with painting Still Life on tombs and caves. They painted simple everyday elements, such as food and animals. They started to group them, just like they were logic to them. Many Still Life Paintings were found in Rome, Pompeii and Egypt. The photo below is a famous Still Life Painting “Glass bowl of fruit and vases” which is found in a House of Julia Felix in Pompeii, around 70 AD. Today, it is in Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Middle Ages and Renaissance. During the time, the motives of Still Life Paintings was changed. In the middle ages the religion influenced on this picture genre. And the most of Middle age paintings hide the religious symbols, such as the Painting below, “Vase of flowers” painted by Hans Memling. It dated from 1480 and there is belief that the painting has a religious symbolism.
Sixteenth to Twentieth century. Still life undergoing some changes. During sixteenth century, the still life painters add some new elements, such as people, although they are some kind of live subjects and they changed the whole composition of painting. It is reach with more elements and they are apart from the background. Famous and important painter of 16th century is Jan Breughel the Younger (Antwerp 1601 – 1678). His basic motif was tradition. The most famous painting of Jan Breughel the Younger is “Still life with tulips, roses, lilies, irises, poppies, hyacinths and other flowers in a blue and white delft porcelain vase”, which is shown below.
Annibale Carracci on the other side, pay attention more on a combination Still Life elements with alive subjects and she presented the scenes from a real life, like Kitchen scene or “Butcher’s shop” (the photo below).
During 17th century, still life have apart like a special picture genre and many famous painter of these days have made incredible Still life paintings. Fede Galizia, Apples In a Dish (1593).
Giovanna Garzoni – Still life with Plums, Walnuts and Jasmine on
Anne Vallayer-Coster – The Attributes of Music (1770)
Anne Vallayer-Coster – Still-Life with Tuft of Marine Plants, Shells and Corals (1769)
During eighteenth and nineteenth century, the painters added a brighter colors in Still life paintings. Famous painters of this period are Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Gustave Caillebotte. They started to make experiments on the paint canvas, putting different shades of colors, experimenting with the brush and the main thing they changed is the previous mystical religious motives of Still Life Paintings. They bring freshness on the paint canvas. Look some of the paintings of that period. Claude Monet – Still Life With Melon
Vincent Van Gogh – Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers
Gustave Caillebote – Yellow Roses in a Vase (1882)
But during twentieth century and till now, The Still Life Genre is mixing with the new technology. Actually , that means that the there are a changes in a Still Life elements and the technique of painting of course. Now a days, computer generated techniques allow to make painting with more dimensions (3D, 4D). Still life with black pepper, 3D Art
Gallery Of The Famous Painter’s Best Still Life Paintings
Paul Cezanne – “Vessels Basket and Fruit or the Kitchen Table”
Russell Gordon – “Peeling Lemon”
“Still Life with red apples” by Zrazhevsky-Arkady
William M. Harnett – Ease, 1887
Vincent Van Gogh – “Still life with imperial crowns in a bronze vase”
Abraham van Beyeren – Nature morte au banquet
The still life paintings, leave me breathless every time! I admired to Still life painters and I enjoy their art! If you like this post and enjoy the still life art too, share it with your friends!!