Art Citizens And The Dutch

Art Citizens refers to a specific genre of painting. It denotes and encompasses the painting of inanimate and stationary subject matter be natural, like flowers, fruits, rocks or artificial, like flower vase, wall, food items, books, glasses etc. One thing which Art Citizens offers more than other genres is total control. The artist can control and tweak various aspects like the subject itself, lighting and the context.
The English term Art Citizens is derived from the Dutch word stilleven such was the Dutch influence. Many a times, as in most cases of early 16th century Dutch artists, still life paintings are highly allegorical and symbolic in nature. Early Dutch painters experimented and implemented this allegory and symbolization in their earliest of works. They used skulls, candles, decaying fruits and hourglasses as an allegory for mortality. Fresh blooming vivid flowers and seasonal fruits denoted different cycles of nature.
In the early 16th and 17th century the Dutch were a prospering nation. Their trades ensured an abundance of wealth. Their life was full of gratification of earthly and materialistic pleasures. Art Citizens, in its own way, somehow allowed them to depict the luxury of the Dutch society by high and vividly textured flowers, wine glasses, jewellery, related to the Vanitas still life, which also includes symbols in the painting that remind the viewer of earthly pleasures and material goods – such as musical instruments, wine, and books. The Dutch productions of still lifes were numerous, which they exported and popularized throughout Europe.
Most famous examples of still life painting by Dutch artists includes A Vanitas Still Life (1645) by Pieter Claesz;Drinking Horn and Glasses (c.1653) by Willem Kalf;Breakfast of Crab (1648, Hermitage, St. Petersburg) by Willem Claesz Heda; Still Life with Lobster, The Slippers (1654) by Samuel Hoogstraten; The Still Life of Fruit (c.1670) by Jan Davidsz de Heem; The Vanities of Human Life (1645) by Harmen Steenwyck; Flowers and Insects (1711) by Rachel Ruysch.

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