VARIETIES OF GENRE STILL LIFE
Still life (from the French. Nature morte – dead, inanimate nature) – an artistic image of various household items.
In the XV-XVI centuries, a still life was considered as part of a historical or genre composition. Early still lifes often performed a utilitarian function, for example, as a decoration of cabinet doors or to mask a wall niche.
As an independent painting genre, a still life was formed in the 17th century in the works of Dutch and Flemish artists.
The term nature morte (dead nature) appeared in the XVIII century and reflected the neglect of still life by academic circles, which preferred the “high” genres, the area of which was “living nature” (historical, battle, allegorical, religious, mythological). Until the end of the XIX century, a still life was considered as a “lower” genre.
The heyday of still life painting is associated with the invention in the 19th century of a method for the production of tube paints and the advent of plein air painting.
Still Life Bouquet
Bouquet is a type of floral still life.
All objects in the Dutch still life are symbolic. The emblematic collections published during the 18th century were a good tool for deciphering paintings.
In the paintings of Dutch artists of the XVII-XVIII centuries. the bouquet is likened to human life.
Compositions for bouquets in the Dutch still life were of three types: radial composition (flower stems fan-shaped from one point), the main thing is the image of a flower placed at the convergence of the stems. Compositions of the second kind – with flowers, like a carpet, fill the entire space of the canvas, while building a vertical hierarchy of colors and their meanings. The third type of composition of the bouquet – the shape of a triangle – the most significant flower serves as the central axis, and the rest of the flowers are symmetrically grouped around it.
A niche in a still life is a symbol of a cave containing a Shrine and the presence of the Divine.
Still life painting bouquet
Still Life Vanitas
Vanitas, Vanity of vanities (from lat. – vanity, vanity) – an allegorical still life of the Baroque era, is the most intellectual kind of still life, requiring the viewer to know the Bible and traditions of religious symbolism.
Vanitas recalled the transience of life, the futility of pleasures and the inevitability of death.
Vanitas gained the greatest distribution in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries; some examples of the genre are found in France and Spain. The first vanitas still life that came to us was written by Jacob de Hein the Younger in the 17th century.
Symbolism of objects in the Dutch still life:
skull – a reminder of the inevitability of death, symbolizes the mortality of human life;
bread – a symbol of the body of the Lord, in combination with wine – the sacrament of the Eucharist;
soap bubbles – shortness of life and suddenness of death;
medical instruments – a reminder of diseases and the mortality of the human body;
purses with coins, jewelry boxes – a reminder of the female beauty and attractiveness, at the same time they are associated with vanity, narcissism and the mortal sin of arrogance;
ruins – symbolize the transient life of those who once inhabited them;
weapons and armor – a symbol of power and power, a designation of what cannot be taken with you to the grave;
crowns, papal tiaras, scepters and powers, wreaths of leaves are signs of transient earthly domination, which is opposed to a heavenly world order. Like masks, they symbolize the absence of those who wore them.
Still life paintings by vanitas
Wine still life
Wine still life – emerged from the kitchen still life, breakfast and vanitas still life.
Wine Still Life Pictures
East still life
In an oriental still life depict everyday and religious objects, symbols, ornament and motifs of the East and Indochina.
Paintings oriental still life
Still Life Garland
Garland is a type of flower still life.
The garland wrapping around the central image resembled the famous symbol of Eternity – a snake wrapped around a winged clock. White lilies and ears of bread were woven into the garland itself, traditionally associated with Christ or Mary and talking about the purity of the glorified. In addition, much here symbolized the seasons: flowers – spring, ears and fruits – summer, grapes and vegetables – autumn, lemons – winter.
Garlands not only wrap around portraits. Often these are watches, a Eucharistic cup, glasses of wine, and even a cartouche with text. Sometimes a small wreath is placed directly in the goblet.
Paintings Still Life Garland
Dutch still life
The 17th-century Dutch still life is characterized by the narrow specialization of Dutch masters within the genre. The theme “Flowers and Fruits” includes a variety of insects. “Hunting trophies” are, first of all, hunting trophies – a beaten bird and game. “Breakfast” and “Dessert” also include images of fish and various birds.
All objects in the Dutch still life are symbolic. The emblematic collections published during the 18th century were a good tool for deciphering paintings. In the paintings of Dutch artists of the XVII-XVIII centuries.