Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bloated croaker

I was unaware (until long time reader Chase turned me onto this blog) – and maybe you are, too – that 17th-century Dutch painters sometimes turned their talents to more morbid subjects than fruit and flowers. There are the still lifes that contain dead game animals (like this rabbit attributed to Jan Fyt) and memento mori paintings that include human skulls. But Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger, who usually followed in the style of his father (SLIDESHOW HERE) chose c. 1630 to portray in great detail, using oils on copper, the decomposing body of a frog. What's more, the image has now been brought to life, so to speak, by contemporary artists Rob and Nick Carter. Starting with a high-resolution photograph of Bosschaert the Younger's "Dead Frog with Flies," they have created a silent 3-hour looped film and display it on a computer concealed behind an original Old Master frame. With their "digital still lifes," they hope to carry into the modern age the tradition perfected by the Dutch so many centuries ago. Nick explains, “They tried very hard to create something that feels so tangible that you could almost touch it. Hopefully we’ve continued with something that they worked hard to start."

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