Still Life Before Still Life (Hardcover)

By David Ekserdjian

Yale University Press, 9780300190175, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

List Price: 45.00*
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A beautiful book that argues artists were fascinated by still life painting considerably earlier than previously thought 

This eloquent and generously illustrated book asserts that artists were fascinated by and extremely skilled at still life significantly earlier than previously thought. Instead of the genre beginning in the early 17th century, noted scholar David Ekserdjian explores its origins in classical antiquity and the gradual re-emergence of still life in Renaissance painting. The author presents a visual anthology of finely executed flowers, fruit, food, household objects, and furnishings seen in the background of paintings. Paintings are reproduced in full and paired with detailed close-ups of still-life elements within the work.

Ekserdjian further examines both the artistic and symbolic significance of a chosen detail, as well as information about each artist’s career. Featured works include radiant paintings from Renaissance greats such as Da Vinci, Dürer, Holbein, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Van Eyck, as well as the work of less-celebrated masters Barthélemy d’Eyck and Ortolano.

About the Author

David Ekserdjian is professor of history of art and film, University of Leicester.

Praise For Still Life Before Still Life

“With its stunning illustrations, the book is visually thought provoking and useful for those interested in the origins of still-life painting.”—C.A. Hanson, Choice

"Reading the essay and savoring the images in this substantial, handsomely produced volume coaxes reflection. . . . Inviting 'careful looking at pictures, both in quest of comparable details and more generally' (32), David Ekserdjian’s book sets a generous table."—Alfred Acres, Renaissance Quarterly