Still life was developed as a separate genre primarily in the Netherlands in the works of Jan Bruegel (see under Bruegel, family), Rubens, Snyders, and Rembrandt. In France still life was used in the 17th cent. primarily for trompe l'oeil exercises and not significantly elevated until it received brilliant handling by Chardin in the 18th cent. French 19th-century masters, including Courbet and Cézanne, adopted still life wholeheartedly, giving it status equal to that of their other subjects. In the United States, Harnett and Peto used still life in order to display brilliant trompe l'oeil techniques.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.