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Still-life paintings by famous artists

Blaise Pascal once said: "What vanity is painting! It wins applause merely by representing things, while the originals are not even admired." And after all, he was right – how often do you catch yourself spending a long time looking at your kitchen table with cutlery, food, fruit or a bouquet of flowers on it? Usually, all such compositions get is just a brief glance, while it is sometimes impossible to take your eyes off a still-life painting by a true master. As proof of this, we suggest you take a look at the paintings by Willem Claesz Heda, Henri Fantin-Latour or Abraham Mignon. We'll bet anything that looking at the details, you won't even notice how the picture grasps all your attention.

First still-lifes are believed to have appeared in the period from the 15th to the 16th century. In that era, it wasn't yet an independent genre: images of flowers or household items served as the background to the main subject. A while later, at the turn of the 16th to the17th century, artists created works that can be called the first paintings in the genre of still-life. Those were images of kitchen utensils or food, which were used to hide niches or decorate kitchen cabinets.

In the 17th century, Flemish and Dutch painters preferred still-life painting, thereby giving it the status of a separate genre. It was then when paintings depicting ordinary objects and things started to be called "still-lifes." The central characters of the paintings were flowers, dishes, food, hunting trophies, etc. Still-life paintings became popular among the public – they were eagerly bought. The greatest demand was for the so-called trompe-l'œil still-lives, which have to be viewed from a certain angle to see the image hidden among the lines and splashes of color. The names of such painters as Pieter Steenwijck, David Bailly, Pieter Claesz, Balthasar van der Ast, and Ambrosius Bosschaert were known all over Europe, and their works served as a source of inspiration for French, Italian, and German artists.

By the beginning of the 18th century, still-lifes appeared in Russia. Here they were considered a secondary, "lower" art: the genre of still-life was mostly limited to paintings created by students, who had to depict a composition (flowers or fruits) arranged by the artist on the canvas. This went on until the beginning of the 20th century, when artists who experimented in search of fresh ideas and techniques turned to still-life painting, since its form provided ample opportunities for embodying their conceptions. Composition, color and form – painters used all these components when creating new images and finding original themes. The public was enthusiastic about still-lifes created by the artists Sergei Osipov, Piotr Alberti, Victor Teterin, and Maya Kopitseva.

Modern painting is not conceivable without still-lifes. Painters use all available means – from classic paints and pastels to computer graphics – to please the eyes of the viewers with bright paintings, full of beauty and adoration of nature. Our art portal has collected for you the best still-lifes, created by great masters of the past and painters of the 21st century.
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