Paintings of Still Life
Comparing to all other art styles and forms still life painting is the most “innocent” and universal: it doesn't picture anything controversial but still shows artists' technique and skills.
Types of still life
Most of critics tend to divide all still life paintings into 3 groups: images of flowers, pictures of food and artworks displaying animals, but there is at least one more specific type of still life — symbolic still life like Vanitas painting, with a religious or philosophical message. This style was popular in 16-17 centuries, and each artwork displayed human sculls, rotten fruits, wilting flowers and other subjects which aim was to symbolize the inevitability of death.
Still life paintings can be performed in very different styles, including Abstract Expressionism and Cubism, and with a help of various media: watercolour, oil, acrylic paints etc. Mostly its aim is to show the masterly technique of an artist, but sometimes pictures were created to show the mood and feelings, like world-known Van Gogh's sunflowers.
The first examples of still life paintings were found in Ancient Egypt tombs and Roman homes. Egyptian paintings on tombs' walls were depicting various fruits which the dead person was believed to eat in the Afterlife. Still life painting has totally disappeared after the fall of Rome and reappeared in the early Renaissance, but mostly as a part of religious paintings but not like independent genre.
One of the first artists who started working in this style in 16th century was Albrecht Durer with his painting Hare (1502) and Jacopo de' Barbari with a Dead Bird (1504), but the recognized master of that time is definitely Frans Snyders who lived and worked in 17th century. The following generations of artists were gradually developing this style and continue doing it until now.
Within art critics still life works are considered as a lowest form of art but buyers have always loved it because of versatility, simple message and beauty. Such artworks are appropriate everywhere — at home, at workplace or in public places.
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