Spanish Bodegón Paintings and Mastering the Mundane

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Art can be simple and art can be complex. Bodegón art complicates simplicity.

Where common European art took to the exceptional and ornate, Bodegón took to nooks and cupboards of expiring victuals and herbs.


“Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity.”― Thor Heyerdahl


It was the during the Baroque period that Spanish aesthetics began to skew from the typical Northern European artistic heritage of abundance and blissful sensuality to the bleak, barren, basic appeal of everyday items.

In the Bodegón tradition, the cool darkness of an old pantry takes on a dreamlike air, slightly surreal. These unique paintings portray the contents of cupboards in stunning, yet unexaggerated detail.

Game, jars, vases, etc. are immortalized on canvas and paper; beautifully bleak and uncannily unassuming.


“Like all magnificent things, it's very simple.”― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting


These special works of art highlight the otherworldly in the down-to-earth as well as the artist's masterful abilities.

Enjoy this strange and wonderful art form in the classic, excellently-executed examples below!


AriasBodegon-donePedro_de_Medina-doneLuis_Melendez,_Still_Life_with_Salmon,Lemon_and_three_Vessels,1772_Museo_del_Prado_Madrid-doneJuan_van_der_Hamen_-Still_Life_with_artichokes,_figs,_cherries_peaches_and_apples,_1629-doneFrancisco_de_Zurbarán_006-doneFra_Juan_Sánchez_Cotán_001-doneBurgosmantilla-doneBodegón_de_uvas,_manzanas_y_ciruelas,_de_Juan_de_Espinosa-done

Read our article on the art of John Simmons...

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