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.
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. Despite offering sublime scenes of prosperity and temporality, this style of painting was often dismissed as a creative exercise.
Lichtenstein embraces the decorative qualities of still lifes, rendering his series according to a pronounced commercial aesthetic. Still Life With Pitcher And Flowers employs an airy composition, presenting modernised versions of classical still life motifs. A figurative black and white pitcher sits on the left, signaling welfare and nourishment. On the right, the artist situates a minimalist illustration of a potted plant, alluding to the temporary nature of things.
Still Life With Pitcher And Flowersexpands the meaning behind the traditional still life symbols of life and death.Fixing the two objects on either side of an empty centre, the print suggests a pitstop halfway between the opposing poles that govern our existence.