Still Life: National Gallery Pocket Guideby Erika Langmuir
Virtually everyone knows what kinds of things are represented in still life, but we all have difficulty explaining precisely what still life is. We are familiar enough with the subject matter-flowers, fruit, vegetables, pots and pans, tableware, books, and musical instruments. Sometimes these are beautiful and ornate; often they are commonplace household items-but it is their re-presentation in paint that makes them seem remarkable and a source of special enjoyment.
In this Pocket Guide Erika Langmuir examines the special fascination of still life and what distinguishes it from other categories of painting. She discusses its evolution from the trompe l'oeil wall paintings of ancient Rome, through its revival in the age of Caravaggio and Velazquez, and again in the works of CŽzanne and Picasso. The subject is more complex than it seems, going to the very heart of the relationship between art and reality and perception and representation and touching on how artists view their role in society.
Author Biography: Erika Langmuir, formerly head of education at the National Gallery, London, is the author of The National Gallery Companion Guide and, in the Pocket Guides series: Allegory, Angels, Landscape, and Saints. Published by National Gallery Company Distributed by Yale University Press
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