View Full Version : Old Masters AND STILL LIFES Subjects?

02-13-2008, 05:11 PM

Because Rembrandt are for me, The Master of All Masters, i have Study almost all the Paintings from him BUT i haven't see one STILL LIFE painting:confused: :confused: :confused: . Maybe i am wrong and such painting exist:confused: .

Then i was curios, and i have examine the picassos(which i dont like, because of his not realistic paintings) paintings, and have found ONLY 1 Still life:confused: .

Have the old Masters dont paint Still life subjects:confused:

If they do, which from the old Masters are the Referenz in Still life painting, i mean realistic still lifes not like Cezzane or matis:confused: .


Pat Isaac
02-13-2008, 06:59 PM
Try this site, Nico. There are still lifes by Pisarro and Monet.
http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/s/still-life/1701-1850.html and this one

When I find more I will give you a link.


02-13-2008, 07:45 PM
Great sites, Pat. Jane

02-14-2008, 01:35 AM
Hello Pat.

Thanks for the Links.

As i see the Tops of the Tops from old Masters are here missing.
like Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Caravaccio.

I suppose Still life was to "easy" for this Grand Masters:cat: :cat:


02-14-2008, 07:11 AM
I think that your Great Masters are not as great in every ground of painting. But if you look at some pictures of Rembrandt then you might found some marvellous 'still life' in them... In other hand, still life was invented after Rembrandt and Leonardo've beeen working...

Pat Isaac
02-14-2008, 09:06 AM
Actually, in my reading I have found that Rembrandt did one still life, but I have yet to find a picture of it.


02-14-2008, 10:46 AM
According to an art history book I read recently, landscapes and still lifes only came about at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Before then, painters worked on commission, and painting for churches was far and away the big thing, followed by portraits of churchmen and wealthy patrons like kings and dukes. With the Reformation, painting saints for altarpieces was viewed as Papal heresy, and there was no Protestant church hierarchy, so 2/3 of the subjects for paintings disappeared and many painters were put out of work, because only the best could command enough price to live on portrait commissions alone. Even Rembrandt went broke when patrons got tired of his style of painting. So painters in Protestant Europe cast about looking for subjects that were "safe" to paint, and trees and hills and veggies could be painted without church criticism. That's when landscapes and still lifes (in the modern senses of the terms, where they alone are the subjects) came into being. It's also when painting on speculation started, because painters hoped with such subjects to expand their audience to those less wealthy who couldn't afford a portrait but still had money enough to pay for a piece of artwork for their home or place of business. But now the artists or their agents had to find buyers from an anonymous public, which laid the groundwork for things like salons and galleries.

Pat Isaac
02-14-2008, 10:59 AM
Thanks, Bob for the interesting find on the old masters. I do remember in my forays through museums that I never did see still life painting during that era.


02-14-2008, 01:10 PM
A little OT, perhaps, but did anyone else happen to see the recent PBS art history program with Simon Schama, The Power of Art. It was outstanding! More info here at the PBS site: http://www.pbs.org/previews/simonschama-powerofart/
I'm really hoping my local PBS affiliate will decide to re-run the whole series - it was excellent! The episode on Rembrandt was the best of the series, at least the ones that I saw.

The video of the Rembrandt PBS episode may be available for download here: http://www.mininova.org/tor/793531
(Note: I don't know anything about this site, and haven't downloaded it yet myself.)

Marsias: I think hackpaint made a good point. Even though Rembrandt may not have done much in the way of still life paintings, some of his works contain articles of daily life, that you might study in order to paint still life paintings in Rembrandt's style.

Pat: Thanks for the great links. Bob: Thanks for the interesting art history information. And welcome to the OP forum, hackpaint! :wave: Good points.

02-14-2008, 04:00 PM
While not your "typical" still life, Rembrandt has at least one such painting, located in the Louvre, called "The Flayed Ox", oil on canvas and measuring 94 x 69 cm. I depicts the carcass of a slaughtered ox hangin by the hind legs from poles and ropes. There is a photograph that may be seen at the following link:


In "The Great Masters of European Art " by S.G. Casu, E. Franchi and A. Franci, Barnes and Noble, original Copyright 2004, SACLA Group S.[A., Florence, ISBN 0-7607-8069-2, there is also a photograph from which I quote the following caption:

"The painting, signed and datede 1655 is unique in Rembrandt's catalogue. There is a picture of the same subject in Glasgow (Art Gallery and Museum), but recent studies have attributed it to one of his pubpil. Precedents for the painting already existed in 16th-centrual Flemish art, from Aertsen's Butcher's Stall of 1551 (University, Uppsala), to Bueckelaer's Slaughtered Pig of 1563 (Sallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne) and the most similar of all these works, Marten van Cleve's Slaughtered Ox of 1566 (Kunsthistorishex Museum, Vienna). As in other pictures of this subject the human presence tends to be eliminated, and is reduced her to the face of a woman peeping out from behind a door, so that some regard the canvas as a sort of still life.
The way in which the painting is used to represent the ox is striking: the wrinkled surfaces of red and white lend the meat an almost tangible consistency. When the work was acquired by the Musee du Louvre, in 1857, it mad a great impression on French painters, expecially Delacroix, and was to remain a source of inspiration for many artists right into the 20th century.
Some critics have assigned a particular symbolic significance to the choice of theme. It has been suggested that slaughtered animals can represent the virtue of Prudentia, and since the picture was painted in the year before Rembrandt's bankruptcy, when he must already been well aware of his financial problems, it seems reasonable to link the choice of subject with the idea of prudence, somthing that Rembrandt had clearly lacked up until then." loc. cit., pp. 245.

Additional early still lifes depicted in this book include works by Zurbaran (Still Life, oil on canvas, Prado, Madrid). In The Ambassadors (1533) by Holbein the Younger, a portrait of two men flank a two tiered tabke which, taken by itself, could easily be considered a still life. Another early still life is Willem Kalf's Still Life with Lobster (c. 1665). One famous early still life is Cabbage, Melon, Cucumber, and Quince (c. 1602 in the Museo de Bellas Artes in Grenada Spain. There is a painting by Hans Memling, Vase with Flowers on a Shelf dating to 1470 in the Thyssen Collection, Lugano (Italy). Supporting Bob's analysis the caption for this painting states that paining was subject for centuries completely to a hierarchy of themes with the greatest emphasis on historical and mythological subjects and still life relegated to the lowest of priorities. The 1470 painting is a stark demonstration of this since it was found painted on the back of the canvas of another work!!!

While I have often seen Giorgione's The Tempest suggested as the "first" Landscape, c. 1505, Albrecht Altdorfer's Landscape with Bridge, c. 1516, seems even more clearly a true landscape, completely devoid of humans while Giorgione's work framed the storm that was the focus of his canvas with two seemingly dissonant figures, one male and the other female at either edge of the canvas.