A still life painting is a painting of a non-moving, non-intimate objects. Still life has been painted all throughout history. Whether it be fruit, flowers, glassware, bowls or a combination of all. During the Renaissance, still art emerged as its own painting genre instead of a less important element in a composition. In history, early Netherlandish paintings shows skulls, candles and hourglasses. Fruit from different seasons were added to the paintings to symbolize nature’s cycle. The artworks from this period were also known as Vanitas. Vanitas are a style of still art that shows the transition of life and the certainty of death. In this article, we will be focusing on three well known still life paintings.
The Sunflowers were a series of 14 paintings by the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, who created many famous painting in his life from March 30, 1853 to July 29, 1890. He painted this famous series between 1888 and 1889. The initial versions from August 1888 had 4 paintings in the collection. One of the paintings from this collection set a record in the auction when 2 anonymous over the phone bidders drove the price all the way up to $39.9 million dollars until one of them dropped out. In these paintings Van Gogh created colourful, happy paintings full of emotion. He has used vibrant colours which are associated with the happy emotions from sunflowers. The emotion and hope in these still life artwork is why one of them became a record breaking artwork that today is one of the most well-known still life paintings we know today.
As I said before Vanita’s are a style of art that shows the transition of life and normally had skulls, candles and hourglasses. Pieter Claesz’s Vanitas with Violin and Glass Ball is a perfect example of this genre of artwork. The artist was born in Berchem, Belgium, near Antwerp. In this artwork, the detail is amazing. In the glass ball, you can clearly see the artist painting the artwork in the reflection. In the artwork, all the classic features of a Vanita painting are there. In the middle of the painting there is a violin that shows the parallels between music and painting, that are both pleasures in life.
Girogio Morandi was nicknamed ‘il monaco’ (the monk) because of his anti-social lifestyle. He however is known as arguably the best Italian still life painter in the 20th century. In his painting, Natura Morta (still life) centres on subtle, tonal lives of everyday household objects. The artwork shows normal and average objects like bottles, nondescript vases and small pots. Morandi mostly focuses on intense concentration