Research point: Still life development

I did some research on the development of the still life genre during my Drawing 1 course (link below).   For this post, I am featuring images of paintings that are good examples of the genre from the 17th century onwards.

Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin – The Ray 1728

Francisco Goya Still Life of a dead turkey and a wicker basket, 1806

This canvas is one of a series of twelve still lifes that were listed among the artist’s possessions in 1812. Since his early years Goya included still-life elements in his canvases but there is no reference to earlier, independent works by the artist in this genre. The dead birds and animals in this series are not depicted in the traditional manner as hunting trophies. Rather, the artist focused on their bodies, almost humanising them and presenting them as though on the threshold between life and death.

Henri Matisse Still Life with Pitcher and Fruit 1898

George Braque Still Life with clarinet, grape bunch and fan 1913

Georgia O’Keeffe Oriental Poppy 1927

Giorgio Morandi Still Life 1946

Audrey Flack Jolie Madame 1973

Sharon Core 1665 2017

Traditional flower paintings similar to Core’s photograph spoke of beauty and death. The cut blooms were depicted at their peak and every viewer knew that they signalled imminent fading and death, and urged viewers to lead a good life if they wanted an afterlife. Core’s photographs replicate as closely as possible those of 17th-century artists (Ambrosius Bosschaert, Jan Brueghel the Elder), and, striving for authenticity, she grew long-lost or out-of-fashion specimens. She then composed and correctly lit them to appear like paintings and titled them the date of the earlier works (ie 1665)


My Drawing 1 Learning log entry for still life research: (Memento Mori)

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