The still-life concept presents an initial curiosity: it has an indirect relationship with nature and has nothing to do with death. The concept we have analyzed is part of the terminology of the world of painting and refers to painting.
This type of classic painting uses certain elements such as fruits, kitchen utensils, flowers, porcelain, books and everything that is part of everyday life. However, this image has evolved and nowadays still life or classic painting presents more modern objects such as an open refrigerator or a simple mirror. However, its characteristic element is usually something created by nature, for example, a bunch of grapes or a piece of bread.
Since painting had not yet achieved a creative freedom like the one that exists today, the still life used only symbolic elements such as dead animals interpreted as hunting trophies and the simplicity of some themes intended to convey a value of austerity and simple life. Some scholars in the artistic world have carried out interesting studies on the symbolism of the fruit within the history of art.
The artist who chooses still life, as a theme or subject, bets on figurative painting and manages to pay special attention to small details.
In the historical tradition of painting, there are three themes that stand out above the rest: landscape, portrait and still life. The latter offers an advantage over the others: it allows for greater creative freedom. The artist creates his own still life depending on what he wants to convey and the technique he will use (the most common is the oil and watercolor technique). Although still life as a theme is associated with the artistic period of the past (especially Baroque and 19th century academic art), contemporary painting has also been dedicated to this genre.
Still life in contemporary painting
With the invasion of photography as art, still life was displaced. This does not mean its disappearance since contemporary artists have also been dedicated to translating everyday reality . A good example is the case of Andy Warhol, as some of his works play a significant role in 20th century painting. It is worth remembering that soups and canned vegetables were some of his works that evoke the classical tradition of painting, but adapted to the objects of his time.
Still life is still present in contemporary painting, as the role of light, the sense of harmony and chromaticity are genuine aspects of the art of painting, regardless of the historical moment and the creator.