Definitions of "still life" - the museum and encyclopedia perspective

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makingamark wrote
on 9 Oct 2008 9:08 AM

This thread is for recording different definitions of 'still life' that we come across in museums, art galleries and encyclopedias.  I wonder whether they'll all be in broad agreement?

The emphasis of this thread is on finding links to different expert perspectives on the question of 'what is a still life?' 

There's another thread Just what is a Still LIfe? in this group which is discussing the question "What is a Still Life?"


Here's a list of the definitions I found while researching What is a still life?.

Art Galleries and Museums in the UK and USA


Have you come across other definitions?

My name is Katherine and I write about art every day on my blog Making A Mark.  

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rickscool wrote
on 9 Oct 2008 12:19 PM

Thanks you makingamark for all the effort put into finding all these links.

But I'm still confused. The common denominator in all the definitions for still life's in these links are defined as a inanimate or dead object. Yet then they go on to show us images of what they call classical still life's such as the following, of course they also show paintings that we would recognize as a still life.


Rembrandt's "Girl with dead peacocks" is listed in Rembrandt's works references and several of the above links as an example of a rare Rembrandt still life. Here's a reference that's not listed above;

 REMBRANDT van rijn

life, paintings, etchings, drawings & self portraits


So what gives?

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