Made during his own 'lockdown', French artist Gustave Courbet painted this still life whilst he was imprisoned for his involvement in the Paris Commune of 1871.
Allowed to paint but forbidden to have models pose for him, his sister Zoé brought him flowers and fruit to paint instead.
Courbet’s rich, ripe apples are his affirmation of life – each one singular, sweet-smelling and tactile.
Luis Meléndez was the leading Spanish still-life painter of the 18th century. In this scene he fills the canvas with everyday objects from the Spanish market and kitchen.
The composition is arranged in a way that leads our eye around the picture, and though the colour range is limited, the intense light emphasises the range of textures.
And ending in the place where still life emerged as a genre in its own right: 17th-century Holland.
Willem Kalf's still life celebrates the challenges of depicting the play of light on different surfaces and textures.
The objects chosen evoke a sumptuous lifestyle – luxurious lobster, exotic lemons, fine glass and silver tableware – and seem so real, it's almost as if you could pick them up out of the painting.