Art can project life.

In Spring 2019, I took my first honors class; it was Introduction to Art History. I didn’t know the number of things to consider when looking at an artwork. I didn’t know the meanings of the details and how those meaning change through time. From the artwork that I studied my favorites were mostly from the Baroque. This period changed the focus to scenes of everyday life. These pieces are injected with meanings, drama, and emotions. For example “Still Life with Lobster and Fruit”.

Still Life with Lobster and Fruit

Abraham van Beyeren, probably early 1650s

The most remarkable characteristic is the use of chiaroscuro, to make the painting dramatic. Fruit and lobster represent money. Around that time fruits only could be gotten through the exchange. The open orange means death, the central “memento mori” theme reminded the viewer not to get too lost in enjoying oneself with wealth, gluttony and music, but rather to focus more on the spiritual aspects of life. This painting is full of details and is very realistic. Those are the main characteristics that called my attention. When I was seating in the class hearing the professor explaining each one I was amazed. How come that I only see fruits and a lobster? All these have a purpose. They form a completed meaningful artwork. It is not only a bunch of stuff on top of a table. everything is connected as events in my daily life.

My life is full of details that I didn’t notice as I didn’t notice the details of this painting. All those details mean something in my life. They helped me to get where I am right now and be the way I am. The idea of memento mori reminds me to be grateful, to be conscious of the opportunities and small steps that I have done so far.

 

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