Roy Lichtenstein’s Six Still Lifes of 1974 manifest a colourful excursion into the diverse history of the still life genre. Each composition in this bright six-part sequence is predicated on the aesthetic legacies of 20th century modern masters. The distinctly figurative Six Still Lifes later inspired Lichtenstein’s abstracted Seven Apple Woodcuts of 1983.
Historically, still lifes would provide the public with allegorical depictions of earthly pleasures and the inevitability of demise. Although this artistic tradition has been practiced since ancient times, its particular mode of representation has never ranked highest in the hierarchy of art. Lichtenstein’s Still Life With Lemon and Glass embraces the decorative qualities of still lifes. The work showcases modernised versions of classical motifs symbolising man-made materiality versus nature’s luxuries.
Still Life With Lemon and Glass is a closely cropped minimalist composition depicting fruit and kitchenware. Set on a black and white striped backdrop, the print centers a glass filled over halfway in the foreground of a striking yellow illustration of a lemon. Still Life With Lemon and Glass expands and updates the meaning behind its chosen traditional still life objects. Rendered according to a pronounced commercial aesthetic, this particular work also presents a masterful play on perception and reflection.