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By Harry Berger Jr

Caterpillage is a learn of seventeenth-century Dutch nonetheless existence portray. It develops an interpretive technique in keeping with the author's past reviews of portraiture, and its target is to provide its readers a brand new method to imagine and discuss the style of nonetheless life.The publication starts off with a critique of iconographic discourse and especially of iconography's therapy of vanitas symbolism. It is going directly to argue that this remedy has a tendency to divert awareness from nonetheless life's darker meanings and from the real personality of its site visitors with demise. Interpretations of nonetheless existence that concentrate on the conceit of human adventure and the mutability of existence reduce the effect made through the illustration of such voracious pillagers of plants as bugs, snails, and caterpillars. The message despatched through nonetheless life's preoccupation with those small-scale predators isn't really purely vanitas.It is rapacitas. Caterpillage additionally explores the influence of this message at the which means of the genre's French identify. We use the normal time period nature morte (dead nature) with out giving any suggestion to how deceptive it really is. simply because such a lot of portrayals of nonetheless lifestyles contain lower flora, which, even though nonetheless in bloom, are demise, it'd be extra exact to call the style nature mourant. the topics of nonetheless lifestyles are vegetation which are nonetheless residing, vegetation which are demise yet no longer but useless

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Extra resources for Caterpillage : reflections on seventeenth century Dutch still life painting

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But Nachleben, which means “afterlife,” may allow the value of exemplarity to be shifted from the prior “life,” the original, to the copy that lives after it. The copy preserves the original. It may even improve or revise it. Or invent it. 18 Charles Sterling ‘s excellent discussion of the origin of the term still life connects it to the nae t’leven formula. The Dutch term still-leven appeared in “the jargon of the studios” in the 1650s, when “leven (life or nature) simply meant ‘model’ or ‘living model’; still, of course, meant ‘motionless’.

Doomed the beauty it made possible. . for several hundred years tulips were selected for a trait that would sicken and eventually kill them. . 19 The vanitas receives new depth and meaning in Goldgar’s Tulipmania. 20 The theme of her powerful chapter entitled “Bad Faith” is that the titular phrase picks out the vanitas by which behavior in the tulip trade was stigmatized. “Bad Faith,” which centers almost obsessively on issues of trust and distrust, shows how the tulip becomes the symbolic displacement as well as the material cause of sharp practices among dealers: “Tulips were perhaps particularly susceptible to problems over trust.

17951-Caterpillage 12/14/10 1:36 PM Page 34 34 Caterpillage Sterling adds that in eighteenth-century Paris, under Dutch influence, “still lifes were designated . . e. things at rest,” and that nature morte, which was first used in 1756 and finally prevailed in France, “undoubtedly connotes a shade of contempt. ”20 Yet this evocation lurks in the wings when Sterling enumerates the motifs to be found in vanitas pictures: We . . find symbols of the destruction of life and matter (shabby books, wilted flowers, blighted fruit, stale bread, worm-eaten cheese, severed ropes), and symbols of the inexorable flight of time (hourglasses, timepieces, guttering candles).

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