Once considered the lowliest of the painting genres, the still life has long been overshadowed in the history of art. A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life is a celebration of this humble genre, exploring nearly 250 years of the tradition from the 17th century to America’s Gilded Age.
On the surface, these picturesque arrangements are easy to appreciate for their aesthetic beauty and skillful rendering. A closer look at these sumptuous arrays of objects ranging from the mundane to the luxurious reveals moral undertones and allusions to the transience of life. This exhibition features loans from the Detroit Institute of Arts and several local collectors, along with recent bequests from the late Drue Heinz, including the only Flemish 17th century still life in the museum’s collection on view for the first time.
A Delight for the Senses: The Still Life is curated by Akemi May, associate curator of works on paper.