Activity - Still life

Look at the painting by Juan Sanchez Cotan, Qunice, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (c. 1602). How has the artist composed the painting? What use has he made of colour? What colour relationships are established? How has he used light and dark?

The composition sets off clear vertical and horizontal lines against the richly varied shapes of the fruit and vegetables. There are clear contrasts between light and dark, both across the objects depicted and the monochrome background, and in the modelling of the objects. The colours are broadly analogous, which creates a peaceful and harmonious mood. The lack of perspective in the background means that the plasticity of the objects is heightened - an effect which is strengthened by the way in which the sill on which the objects are placed is shown in perspective, and the objects' physicality is emphasised by the shadows they cast on that sill.


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This resource was created with the help of a University of Leeds Faculty of Arts Enterprise Knowledge Transfer Grant.

© Matthew Treherne, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT.