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still life

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A painting, drawing, or photograph of an arrangement of inanimate objects. Although still lifes can be found in pre-classical, classical, and Renaissance art, it was only in the 17th century that the form was recognized as a distinct genre. It was variously translated throughout Europe as follows: in France vie coye (‘silent life’), then nature morte; in Italy natura morta; in Germany Stilleben; in Spain bodegón (after the lower-class inns and taverns they were painted for); in the Netherlands stilleven.

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