The District Museum in Nowy Sącz invites you to the main building for an exhibition of paintings entitled “The world stopped – Still life through the ages”. The exhibition includes 54 works on this one of the most beautiful painting genres in art history.
Friday, August 5, 2022 at 5 p.m.
Main building, ul. Jagiellońska 56, Nowy Sącz
Still life is one of the most beautiful painting genres in art history. Artists, from the Baroque period to the present, have tried to present the beauty of objects and elements of nature by creating different representations of still lifes while displaying their workshop skills. This unusual genre has functioned as an independent theme in painting since the 17th century. Still lifes have been present in art since ancient times, initially as a complement to larger religious, genre or historical compositions, although there were also independent compositions composed of various objects at the time (especially in Roman, Pompeian and mosaic paintings).
It was similar in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, where still lifes accompanied figurative scenes and often had symbolic meaning or appeared as a decorative element. Caravaggio’s work, Fruit Basket from about 1596, is considered one of the first modern still lifes and flourished in the Baroque period. The greatest achievements – apart from Italian masters – were shown in this field by Dutch and Flemish painters, who popularized this attractive and effective subject throughout Western Europe. The compositions of these masters are characterized by a wealth of ingenuity and diversity. We find plates, bouquets of flowers, vegetables, fruits, animals, insects and musical instruments on it. There are also marine and vain themes related to the vanity of the world and the passing of life. The artists carefully analyzed the painted objects and showed their materiality by reflecting the different textures of the objects. They control color and light and create the illusion of reality.
The nineteenth century brought great changes in painting. Artists gradually began to distance themselves from realism in search of new solutions, both when constructing the composition of the work and when looking at color and light. The way of perceiving and presenting the surrounding reality has also changed. In the second half of the nineteenth century, first painter-realists, then French impressionists and especially post-impressionists contributed to the renewal of the still life genre. On their canvases they tried to capture and preserve the first sensual impression of the seen object with intense colors and light. On the other hand, Paul Cézanne strove in his numerous still lifes to present the painted objects objectively. He believed that each of them should be viewed from a different point of view, in order to represent the correct perspective, moreover, he tried to introduce simplified, almost geometrical solids that make up this object. The theoretical considerations and the artist’s experiments contributed to the development of still lifes created by cubists at the beginning of the 20th century, when avant-garde artists sought new concepts of art and works, using new materials. and using innovative techniques, such as collage. In art after the Second World War, despite the great variety of directions, artists – including those representing the avant-garde – did not reject the practice of this genre and eagerly resorted to this subject, which gave them the opportunity to freely to create.
The exhibition World Stopped – Still Life Through the Centuries, according to the intention of the organizers, aims to present this extremely important painting topic in art history in a transversal approach. Viewing the beautiful works collected in the exhibition, the viewer can observe how the artistic concepts in the approach to this genre have changed in terms of content, form and formal issues. The selection of different works gives the opportunity to associate with artists who belong to recognized creators of Polish and European art.
The exhibits in the exhibition come from the Wawel Castle, the National Museum in Krakow, the Jagiellonian University Museum in Krakow, the Lublin Museum in Lublin, the Art Museum in Łódź, the Silesian Museum in Katowice, the National Museum of Przemyśl Land in Przemyśl, the Jacek Malczewski Museum in Radom, the District Museum in Rzeszów and the District Museum in Tarnów.
Source: Materials sent to the editors – NS Wijkmuseum