Thursday, September 5, 2013

Still Life (pt. 2)

Artists do use still life painting to polish their expertise.  Many of the most stunning paintings are still lifes.  The artist, as I said, has all the time in the world to painstakingly execute the minutest of brush strokes, leading to a stylistic element called photorealism.  This was known as trompe l'œil, which is French for "fooling the eye."  Linear perspective, chiaroscuro, tenebrism—all of the artistic elements we have looked at to date come into play here, making still lifes among the most dynamic paintings in all of art history to observe.  But, for me at least, there is something strange and almost unsettling about the realism of images that hangs inside a frame on a wall.  The objects are so close, poised on whatever cabinet surface or tablecloth, we feel we could almost stretch out our hand and touch it.  Why is that?  Approximately two hundred years early, I'll ask the question: why must paintings look real?  (Centuries later, artists will seriously contemplate this in their works).  What do you think is the point of making an inanimate object—that has no life of its own and that is painted two-dimensionally on a flat canvas—real?

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