Still life paintings depict inanimate objects that have been arranged in a scene by the artist. It is a highly contrived art form. Although artists may choose to show a scene that existed naturally, it is far more common that the objects have been placed specifically and lighted in accordance with the vision of the artist.
The objects used are often quite commonplace, utilizing food or flowers, but also sometimes incorporating man-made objects, all of which exist in an artificial setting. Popular in Western art since the 17th century, still life paintings give the artist more leeway in the arrangement of design elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape or portraiture.
Still life is perhaps the one area of painting that is subject to a variety of styles. An artist may choose to paint a still life scene using techniques utilized in realism, abstraction, impressionism, or any other style.