The Flourishing of Truth and Beauty: Dutch seventeenth-century still-life painting in its socio-historical context
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Only around 1600 can we speak of still lifes as ‘representations of objects which lack the ability to move and which for artistic purposes are grouped into a composition'. As the century progressed a wide range of objects was selected by still-life artists, while at the same time some objects began to disappear. One immediately begins to wonder why a certain type of still life, which implies a certain iconography and style, was more favorable at a certain time? It sounds plausible that the iconography and style of still life ‘kept up’ ever since it emerged as an autonomous genre. This thesis therefore sets out to discover how Dutch seventeenth-century still-life painting can be linked to its socio-historical context. How can we link the artistic developments within the genre to the history of the Republic and its society? By focusing on three specific reference points in time (1620, 1650 and 1680) I hope to emphasize noticeable differences, possibly even defined stages, within the general trajectory of the genre and its contemporary environment.