One of the principal genres (subject types) of Western art – essentially, the subject matter of a still life painting or sculpture is anything that does not move or is dead

1 of 3
  • Benjamin Blake, 'Still Life' ?1829

    Benjamin Blake
    Still Life ?1829
    Oil on wood
    support: 254 x 200 mm
    Bequeathed by Sir Henry Layard GCB 1913

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Georges Braque, 'Still Life' 1924

    Georges Braque
    Still Life 1924
    Charcoal and pencil on paper
    support: 295 x 350 mm
    Bequeathed by Elly Kahnweiler 1991 to form part of the gift of Gustav and Elly Kahnweiler, accessioned 1994 ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2004

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Patrick Caulfield, 'Coloured Still Life' 1967

    Patrick Caulfield
    Coloured Still Life 1967
    Screenprint on paper
    image: 559 x 914 mm
    Presented by Rose and Chris Prater through the Institute of Contemporary Prints 1975 Patrick Caulfield. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2002

    View the main page for this artwork

Still life includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects, cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, game, wine and so on. Still life can be a celebration of material pleasures such as food and wine, or often a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures and of the brevity of human life (see memento mori).

In modern art simple still life arrangements have often been used as a relatively neutral basis for formal experiment, for example by Paul Cézanne and the cubist painters.

Note the plural of still life is still lifes, and the term is not hyphenated.