Art1204 the noble stillness baroque still-life painting
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Art Appreciation – ART1204 Professor Will Adams
The Noble Stillness Baroque Still Life Painting
Baroque Background n Baroque works were produced during the 17th and 18th centuries. n The term Baroque comes from the Portuguese word “barocca”, which
means “an irregular pearl”. n The first Baroque works appeared in Italy and the style spread
north into Europe. n Baroque still-life was hugely popular in the Netherlands and Flemish
society. n Still-life had symbolic meanings that people at the time
understood, which usually taught moral lessons.
Characteristics of Baroque Painting
n Chiaroscuro n Painting from life n Extreme detail n Dynamic arrangement
and lighting n Rich colors
Famous Early Italian Baroque Paintings
Caravaggio’s “The Conversion of Saul”, c. 1600
Artemisia Gentellischi’s “Judith Beheading Holofernes”, 1614-1620
Hunting Imagery n Dead animals from a hunt were a
popular subject. n They are a great way to show off
technique n Be sure to look for:
• Textures like feathers, tassels, velvet, etc.
• Strong composition • Realism • Hidden details • Chiaroscuro lighting effects
Frans Snyders’ “Still Life With Dead Game, Fruits And Vegetables In A Market”, 1614
The Symbolism of Fruit
n Traditionally, this is what we usually think of when we hear “still-life”.
n Originally fruit was symbolic of the good, sweet things in life, abundance, sexuality, or even sin.
Examples of Fruit Still-Life
Caravaggio’s “Still-Life with Fruit”, 1601-1605
Willem van Aelst’s “Still-Life with Fruit & Crystal Vase”, 1652
Baroque Lighting Effects
n Look at the way the light affects how we see the different forms. • See how the light affect the textures, and reflections. • Notice how the light and shadow affect the mood of the painting.
Jan Davidsz de Heem’s “Still Life with Fruit and Lobster”, 1648
Notice The Composition
n Composition is the arrangement of elements and objects around the picture plane.
n Your eye travels from one point to another around the picture in a clockwise path.
n Good composition keeps your eye moving on a harmonious path.
n The triangle is a traditionally strong compositional path.
Let’s play a round of:
Can You Find The Triangular
Find The Bug!
n Insects were often added to a table setting within the still-life’s composition.
n They symbolized the decadence of the “good life” n They also warned the viewer of the temptations of
too much sweetness n In essence, they represent having “Too much of a
The Five Senses
n As still-life became more popular and began to evolve, its symbolism became more profound.
n Objects symbolizing the five human senses were arranged on a table: • Sight • Sound • Smell • Touch • Taste
n Objects were chosen to symbolize pleasure.
Don’t Forget About The Composition!
Ways To Control Eye Movement
n Folds of cloth n Positioning of objects, bodies
n Repetition of colors n Emphasis from either highlights or shadows
n Height of objects n Details, textures, or negative space
n Eyes or gazes
Vanitas Still Life
n This type of still life was meant to remind the viewer of the fleeting quality of life.
n Life is wonderful, but goes by very quickly!? n Vanitas is about the swift approach of DEATH!
Hendrick Andriezsoon’s “Still-life Composition With Human Skull, Globe, Books, Crown, Miter, Bubbles, Mussel Shell With Bubble Pipe, Holly Crown On Skull, Watch On Table,
Candlestick (With Reflection Of Artist’s Portrait)”, 1650
Modern Vanitas Still Life
Audrey Flack’s “Queen”, 1975 - 1976 Audrey Flack’s “Marilyn (Vanitas)”,
“If I think more about death than some other people, it is probably
because I love life more than they do.”
Vanitas Still Life Homework
n Plan and create (either by drawing, collaging, painting, or photographing) a vanitas, either for yourself, someone you know, or someone famous.
n Your still-life should be based on your own life and community, and should measure no smaller than 8” x 10”.
n On the back of your vanitas, list and explain the objects/elements you included, and what they symbolize/represent.
n Be sure to include the same compositional elements that the Dutch Masters did: • Game • Lighting • Compositional paths • Insects • Vanitas elements • Five senses elements
n Your still-life will be due at the beginning of next class.