Still-life painting was appearing to become more popular in Italy, northern Europe and Spain in the 16th Century. Over time, it became more common in these places, and artists began to change what they painted, and instead focused on painting plants, animals and man-made objects. The objects that were put into the still-life paintings were that of new discoveries, when the Spanish and the Dutch began to explore overseas territory. The ‘foreign specimens’ created huge excitement with the people of the home countries, and the popularity of the paintings soared as a result. Still-life paintings of this time period also specialised in Iconography, which is conveying meaningful moral messages by various objects, which had thought-provoking implications to them, often about life and the events that life throws at oneself. Simple paintings of food and flowers could have complex appeal and various meanings for viewers. Two paintings in this essay are Spanish, and the other is Dutch, making this characteristic high relevant in analysing and discussing their natures.
The three paintings that I shall discuss in this piece, each by a different artist, are Clara Peeter’s ‘Still Life with Lowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels’, Juan Sanchez Cotan’s ‘Still life with game fowl, vegetables and fruits, and finally Zurburan’s ‘Still life with pottery jars’.
The first painting that I am going to discuss is Clara Peeter’s ‘Still Life with Lowers, Goblet, Dried Fruit, and Pretzels. This was painted in 1611 measuring 64x89 cm, and was one of the first times that a female artist tried to compete with the male artists. In this respect, it really was revolutionary. These types of painting by Peeters were typically arranged on narrow ledges and viewed from low viewpoints, against dark backgrounds. She was famed for her ability to evoke a human presence through cut fruit, or partially eaten food. On occasion, she captured self-portraits on objects with reflective surfaces within...
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