What is a still life? Traditionally, it was a painting of everyday objects gathered onto a table, often illustrating wealth and opulence. It became an especially significant form of art in the late 16th century with the Dutch, who produced still life paintings of tables overflowing with foodstuffs and precious objects, which were windows into Dutch affluence and exploration.

Over time, the traditional still life has changed to encompass a variety of issues, and it is a format to which artists repeatedly return.  Artists carefully choose and arrange their objects to bring forth a particular perspective. The resulting works can function as cabinets of curiosities, depicting the objects that someone had access to; they can be displays of prosperity or comments on consumerism and consumption, or they can be symbolic, each object representing a distinct idea. 

No matter what, these paintings encourage close looking and we invite you to consider some of the still lifes in the Hunter’s collection.This exhibition features works by Janet Fish, Jack Beal, Ann Nichols, Currier and Ives, and others.

Daud Akhriev (b. 1959)
”Pomegranates with Murano Vase”
oil on canvas
21-1/2 x 15-5/8 inches
Gift of the artist and Melissa Hefferlin in honor of the Magomed & Marietta Akhriev Family