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When the object becomes the main subject. Still life enables the artist to play on perspective and light, and remains in this respect, a very interesting stylistic exercise. Browse through KAZoART's selection of contemporary still life paintings; emphasizing beautiful objects, in the many styles our artists offer!
Still life has often been considered a secondary genre, in contrast with historical or portrait paintings, and as a result, has been developed in a rather varied fashion over the centuries. Representing the object for the pleasure of imitation became a genre where the first technical innovations and exercises could be fully explored.
Often staged, still life paintings are the result of a long reflection on the object under study, and the environment surrounding it. Over the centuries, the object became an accessory, then a symbol (vanitas) to finally be considered as the main subject where its aesthetics are of a higher importance than simply reproducing it (Paul Cézanne, Nature morte aux pommes et aux oranges).
The most famous French still life artists are Jean Siméon Chardin (La Raie), Jean-Baptiste Oudry (Nature morte au faisan), Pierre Dupuis (Nature morte aux légumes et abricots) alongside Belgium artist Jacob von Es (Nature morte aux raisins, pêches et noix), and Willem Claeszoon Heda (Stielleben) for the Netherlands.
Still life is a pictorial genre where inanimate objects such as vases, flowers, books, animal corpses, etc; are represented. It may have emerged at the end of the 17th in France, but this genre first appeared in Ancient Greece thanks to artists artists Piraikos and Zeuxis. The idea of deceiving the viewer's eye by making it appear as if the object is no longer simply reproduced but very real, becomes one of the main preoccupations of these artists who are avid artists of still life.
In the Middle-Ages the object was considered as an accessory to to the subject, therefore, still life paintings were far and few between during this period.
The golden age for still life paintings began in the 17th century in Belgium and the Netherlands and continued into the 18th century when the pleasure of representing the object for its full beauty was finally embraced. Until the beginning of the 19th century, still life was considered to be the genre par excellence for vanitas and allegories. When the avant-garde reappropriated this genre in the 20th century, modern still life paintings became increasingly popular and gave way to new pictorial and technical innovations.