A Still Life – Under the spell of the Dutch Masters.
I fell under the Dutch Master’s spell when I was studying art A Level at college. I found the Dutch Masters still life paintings absolutely fascinating with their clever use of light, composition, symbolism and sometimes hidden subtext.
Often objects are used that have a symbolic meaning, ie. the candle when extinguished symbolising death, or the loss of virginity, and the corruption of matter. Although working in still life was considered the lowliest form of painting according to the traditional hierarchy I was intrigued by the simple eloquence and mastery of their paintings and skill.
For me, the art of capturing chiaroscuro is also the fundamental building block of photography, as light and shadow are key to all aspects of photography. With still life’s it not as simple as gathering together a collection of random items and taking a photograph. The use of light and composition are fundamental to a still life’s aesthetics.
Photographers are also under the influence.
Like the Dutch Master’s I enjoy the overt symbolism but also the hidden meanings and the playful and whimsical use of certain objects in my still life’s. I love photographing still life’s even though it’s a pastiche to the great masters. The thought process of composition and lighting are crucial to bring a two dimensional photograph to life.
I’m a huge fan of Italian photographer Guido Mocafico. Especially like his advertising photography that was inspired by Dutch Master paintings of the 17th Century. He, also, has taken his inspiration from the Dutch Master, including Aelbert Jansz van der Schoor, Floris van Dijck, Pieter Claesz, Willem Kalf, Maria Oosterwijck and Hendrik Andrieszen. One of my favorite photographs by Guido Mocafico is “BIO SYNTHESE” Number 7 1999.
The penultimate week of the Dogwood 52 week challenge was “Artistic: Art” so I thought that this would be great opportunity to pay homage to the Dutch Masters and play with light in the studio. Within this photo are many objects that are close to my heart, and whilst the symbolism is not openly apparent, for me it has real meaning.
Click here to see more examples of my work in still life, including a some similar pieces, and a few modern interpretations.