Skip to main content


Still lives

Inanimate objects such as fruit, flowers, food and everyday items are painted as the main focus of interest in still lifes. The term derives from the Dutch 'stilleven', which became current from about 1650 as a collective name for this type of subject matter.Still-life painting - later called 'natures mortes' was particularly popular in the Netherlands during the 17th century and was often associated with material decay and the futility of worldly life. Still lifes with this interpretation are known as 'Vanitas' or 'Memento Mori'. Though losing most of this symbolism still life has remained a popular subject with artists to this day.