Telling a story using shadows, and the nineteenth century controversy over the colour of shadows.
An unusual but apparently addictive theme for still life paintings: fish, from Chardin’s ray to the performative art of William Merritt Chase.
A parrot, coral, snuffed-out candles, human skulls, worn-out boots, a bottle of poison and a syringe: all objects in still life paintings.
Four centuries of paintings of tables laid up ready for the consumption of food, with several variations. From Clara Peeters to the modern burger.
With the Rococo in full swing, still life painting was left in the hands of the popular eccentric Chardin, and the brilliant Anne Vallayer-Coster.
When was the sport of badminton first played? These early paintings, including William Blake’s ‘The Fly’, look promising but show a children’s game instead.
From their genre roots in the Dutch Golden Age, through Géricault and Courbet, to the social realism of Millet, Manet, and most of all Lhermitte.
Why do Canaletto’s gondolas not have shadows? Where did Cézanne get his shadows wrong, and why, and what colour are shadows really?
The majority of portraits and genre paintings of women washing clothes are thoroughly demur, without the slightest innuendo.