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Still Life

A STILL LIFE is a picture of THINGS. 

This is a still life filled with fruit—ripe peaches, a sour lemon, and juicy grapes. If you could make a still life filled with food, just like this artist did, what kind of foods would you include?

What other objects do you see in this painting? Zoom in on the image and see what types of materials and textures you can identify. Can you find the reflection of the artist standing at his easel? This artist’s still-life paintings are typically very large because they are meant to be seen from a distance. When you zoom in on the painting, notice how the loose, energetic brushstrokes are layered to create the fruits and objects.

Silver Wine Jug, Ham, and Fruit, c. 1660–66. Abraham van Beyeren. Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, 1960.80

 

Let’s Play a Game!

Still-Life Dash

Look at the list of items below. Have an adult start the timer, then race around your home to find all the things on the list. The first person to bring back all the items wins!

  • A Big Spoon
  • A Stinky Sock
  • Something Red
  • Something Slippery
  • Your Favorite Snack
  • Something with Spots
  • Something Wacky
  • A Smooth Pebble
  • A Funny Hat
  • Something That Makes You Happy


Ready, Set, Go!

After you collect your items, work together to arrange your objects into your own still life. Draw your creation using whatever materials you have. 

Extra Challenge: Try drawing your still life multiple times. First try a tiny version. Can you get it down to the size of a postage stamp? Then try to draw it as big as you can. You can grab a larger piece of paper or flip your page over and try to fill the entire space. When you’re finished, look at all your drawings together. In what ways are they similar or different? Now look back at Abraham van Beyeren’s painting. What is similar about your image and his? What is different?   

Take a picture of your drawing and share your creation using #CMAatHome.

Extra Challenge 

Find an object that you think is ordinary, like a pencil, a soda can, or a chair. How would you change it to make it extraordinary? Brainstorm and write down as many ideas as you can. Then, pick your favorite idea and make a mini model. Your model can be a drawing, a sculpture, or a video explanation. Share your ideas with your family or friends using your favorite means of digital communication.  

Need some inspiration? Check out Claes Oldenburg’s Giant Toothpaste Tube. What other objects would you like to see transformed to a monumental size?

Giant Toothpaste Tube, 1964. Claes Thure Oldenburg. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 2004.88. © Claes Thure Oldenburg

 


STILL LIFE: Silver Wine Jug, Ham, and Fruit, c. 1660–66. Abraham van Beyeren. Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund, 1960.80 

EXTRA CHALLENGE: Giant Toothpaste Tube, 1964. Claes Thure Oldenburg. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 2004.88. © Claes Thure Oldenburg