Until the seventeenth century, still life paintings were occasional curiosities, From the Romans and Hans Memling to the early Dutch Golden Age the genre developed steadily.
In the century from 1560, many artists painted allegories of the four elements of the classical world: earth, air, water and fire. Here are some fine examples.
Here, the rain comes down in sheets, with snow and large hailstones. First an encounter with the three-headed monster dog Cerberus, then a chat with an old acquaintance.
Derived from books of hours, paintings of the four seasons started to appear in the late 16th century. Here are Arcimboldo, de Momper, and the Brueghels.
From Arcimboldo’s vegetable portrait to the height of Impressionism with Monet and Pissarro, some of the finest paintings of the season.
How Vertumnus tried to trick Pomona into loving him, then told her a threatening story. Neither worked: it was being himself that won her in the end.
Gardens aren’t just for flowers, and paintings of vegetable gardens can be just as good art as the most resplendent roses.
How could a woman succeed as an innovative professional painter during the Renaissance, and live to the age of 92?
His vegetable-rich portraits are unique in painting. Were they just jokes and whimsies, or is there something more substantial to them?
The humble cucumber becomes a symbol of fine art, and is added to a sacrament.