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Sunday, February 15, 2009
What's With the Fruit Paintings?
Remembering that the camera wasn’t invented until 1825, realism in art was supreme. Beginning artists practiced realism with arrangements of fruit -- fruit was handy and inexpensive, and once arranged it didn't wiggle, sneeze, or cause your wife to be suspicious of what was going on in your studio. A major consideration!
Historically speaking, if you could paint realistically you were considered a bona fide artist. In fact, the world renowned Académie des Beaux-Arts, which dominated the French art scene in the middle of the 19th century, would only put its stamp of approval on realistic paintings.
In 1863, Emperor Napoleon III decreed that the public be allowed to judge the work themselves, and the Salon des Refusés (Salon of the Refused) was organized.
Everything in painting changed then and the work of artists like Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Sisley, Cézanne, Degas, Cassatt, and Manet were shown and accepted.
Photography encouraged painters to exploit aspects of the painting medium, like color, which photography then lacked; "the Impressionists were the first to consciously offer a subjective alternative to the photograph". (Thanks Wikipedia.)
Still life paintings of fruit are still as popular today with artists and art-collectors as they were centuries ago.
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