Still Life – A woman’s World?

Photograph by Ioanna Ralli

“When the Academy of Fine Art was found in France in the 17th century, a hierarchy of subject matter was established. Historical themes – along with mythological and allegorical ones- were placed at the very top. Second place was taken by portraiture. After that came everyday scenes, then landscapes, animals and lastly and very undervalued, came still life.

Over the course of their entire history, still life was considered an appropriate subject matter for women. In many countries, women excelled especially in painting flowers.

Is that pure coincidence?”

Today I read a small introduction text in Ioanna Ralli’s latest catalogue – book from her last exhibition STILL LIFE.

This book has sat on my shelves for about a year now. I must tell you that I really liked this exhibition and its photographs hold a very special attraction for me. Therefore I have to admit that although I have often taken the book off my library and looked at the pictures, I have never up to today read the intro. I really prefer images to words – coming from a blogger that sounds weird – and I rarely read all the “blubbering”. For me art is supposed to do the talking, not the artist or the critic with words. Yet I urge you to visit Ioanna’s site and read that intro because it contains a lot of interesting things that we can ponder upon.

The paragraph above resonated with a truth that has bothered me for a long long time.

It is true that still life is the child of a lesser God in the eyes of most artists and critics let alone art dealers.  It is also known, that women have always been drawn to still life and have excelled in every way to  portray their surroundings. It must have been only natural for women of the 17th century to paint their household artifacts, since at the time women were not supposed to do a lot of things that men could do, thus it was easier to depict things lying around their houses than paint a nude or go to the brothels and cabarets. Yet to this day we continue to see an ongoing relationship between women painters and still life (especially flowers) that has nothing to do with society’s moral – ethic values and evolution.

What is nagging me though is whether we women like flowers because there comes a time in our lives when we have to spend more time in our homes due to children and /or house chores or if there is a more important connection with mother Earth – Gaia?  Could creating beautiful images of flowers, mother nature’s most beautiful children, be a need to feel connected, part of a whole or plain and simple cradled in the arms of our mother, the most secure of all feelings humans experience at the start of their lives.

What do You Think? I would love to read your comments about our excellence in creating flower still life images.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet Quote about Color : Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.

C“Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.” Claude Monet

Claude Monet

Born 1840 – Died 1026

  • French Impressionist Painter

  • A firm believer in the en plain air school of painters.
  • Inspired by works from Turner and Constable.
  • Most famous paintings those of Waterlilies made late in his life. (See photo Below)

Waterlilies, Green Reflection, Left Part by Claude Monet (1916)

Quote: 

Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”


 I came across this quote of Monet in Pinterest. I am not a fan of Claude Monet but this quote hit straight home with me.

 Color is the essence of painting for me.

I believe that it is crucial in all forms of art as it is a motivator.I enjoy looking at colors and they fill my heart and soul. Luscious rows of colors make me ecstatic whether it is in the form of paint, cloth, nature.

Of all the elements that make up an art piece, color is the first one that reaches our conscience and either attracts or repels us.Therefore it is the most important factor an artist should consider when thinking of the “reaction” he wants his work to bring out in people.

Do you believe that color is of such importance and does it torment you or  give you joy?

Please leave your comments. This blog is about dialogue not a monologue so I expect you to voice your opinions and a conversation to follow.

Henry Moore

Image

Henry Moore 1898 – 1986

One of the most revered English Sculptors.

  • He lived and worked during the two Great Wars.
  • His works have certainly been influenced by his war experiences.
  • Most of his work is on a big scale.
  • He used materials (wood and stones) from his native country.
  • His subjects were mostly revolving around the human form.

Below is a quote of his that sounds so true:

QUOTE …”I think also he came to know that, in a work of art, the expression of the spirit of the person – the expression of the artist’s outlook on life – is what matters more than a finished or a beautiful or a perfect work.” “simplify;they can leave out…In some way their late works become simplified and fragmentary, become imperfect and unfinished.”

He is talking about simplicity and minimalism in the artworks produced by artists in their later days.

I’ve always found fascinating how Great Artists in their latter days “turn” to a more basic use of materials and a love for simple forms, almost touching abstraction. By leaving out more they always manage to give exactly what they strive for. And it is a constant question in my mind to understand if it’s a process of working through all arts’ pretenses and arriving at the essentials or if it’s just easier to work in more simple ways, when age becomes a factor in the daily art process.

*the photo is from

Henry Moore’s Sheep Piece
Hertfordshire, England 1983
Gelatin Silver
by John Loengard