Kitsch And Vanitas

Still Life - Infinite Vanitas

Still Life – Infinite Vanitas  by Kevin Best

Vanitas

Pieter_Claesz._008

Still Life by Pieter_Claesz

Still Life Roemer with nuts and lemon (after Pieter Claesz)

Still Life Roemer with nuts and lemon (after Pieter Claesz)

David Bailly (1584–1657) Self-portrait With Vanitas Symbols, dated 1651

David Bailly (1584–1657) Self-portrait With Vanitas Symbols,  dated 1651

Kevin John Best, OAM (27 January 1932 – 31 July 2012) was an Australian artist. Kevin Best photographs the past – or as close to it as is humanly possible to get. He painstakingly re-produces the images produced by Dutch painters of the 17th century.
Self Portrait with vanitas symbols (after David Bailly)

“Still life photography is technically challenging and intellectually stimulating. While the original masters of the genre delighted in fooling people that their paintings were real, I delight when people think my photographs are paintings.” ~ Kevin Best

Dirck Jacobsz. (circa 1497–1567)  Portrait of Pompejus Occo (1483-1537).

Dirck Jacobsz. (circa 1497–1567)
Portrait of Pompejus Occo (1483-1537).

Kevin Best created contemporary photographic versions of the classic Dutch still life paintings (Vanitas included) by constructing complex sets incorporating authentic antique props, and then adding whimsical twists, such as iridescent bubbles (which also represent the ephemeral nature of mortality and brevity of life).

Self Portrait after Dirck Jacobsz - Pompeius Occo

Self Portrait after Dirck Jacobsz – Pompeius Occo

Vanitas Still Life with Pochette

Vanitas Still Life with Pochette

Musical Vanitas - after Pieter Claesz

Musical Vanitas – after Pieter Claesz

Still Life With Mirrored Ball - Kevin Best

Still Life With Mirrored Ball – Kevin Best

Kevin Best. Triple Self Portrait

Kevin Best. Triple Self Portrait

А popular Russian photographer Yekaterina Rozdestvenskaya is known for a series of “historical” artwork entitled “Private Collection”. These works, deemed educational by many admirers, have a pronounced kitschy feel and look. Kitsch like in “a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons. No whimsical twists here, no authentic props or carefully selected authentic props. Most Russians would recognize their “cultural icons” — actors, writers and TV announcers mostly.

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