I started setting up to do a still life with a cabbage as part of the assignment work. This is based on a pointed cabbage we picked up. (Now eaten, but I’ve still got photographs.)
As an investigation around this, however, I decided to have a look around at how different artists had treated still life images including a cabbage. It turns out it is a fairly rich field, as a quick Google search and following on from it revealed.
The Independent article (and another here) discusses the value of the composition and greatness of the work in detail. The kitchen scene is curiously still, with the elements displayed on a sweeping (almost mathematical) curve – which the article authors assert speaks to a greater meaning of the piece. I found the form of the writing as interesting as the artwork. It is undoubtedly an interesting work though.
These cabbages don’t have the critical acclaim of the previous piece, but I found the way that they’d been represented very interesting. I particularly like the combination of cut through and whole cabbages. Overall, however, it is quite a dark image.
Vincent van Gogh
Another interesting cabbage study is this one by Van Gogh:
Its another fairly dark image, though the darkness and highlights of it seem to vary according to source on the internet. I suspect a level of image processing has been used in many cases. I like the stretch out composition, and the study of the outer leaves and stalk of the cabbage.
I’ve included this one because it is a very different style of still life painting. The whole is roughly rendered, and the perspective of the top of the bowl and table seem misaligned. This may be due to the bowl being propped up, or a multi-viewpoint device. I’m not sure at this point. The balance of dark and light within the image as a whole, however, is very interesting.
The cabbage is somewhat incidental here, but I’ve included it because of the very different composition. The elements are much more separated than in the other compositions. The don’t overlap with each other in many cases. The colour is much brighter with a very different feel to the other works.
So, what have I learnt?
Although this might be a bit of a diversion I’ve found the range of still life work which includes cabbages to be interesting, and gives me an idea of how others have treated the subject. The sample above are a small selection of what my Google Search put forward and I looked at in more detail.
More usefully, the consideration has made me think more deeply about the composition of the images and the different balances that can be struck in such work. The consideration has also lead me to some interesting art analysis, which isn’t something I’ve spent a lot of time on so far. I suspect I’ll check in with The Independent Great Works again in the future.