The genre of painting known as “still life” deals with our perception of the natural world. As such it has much in common with the empirical sciences.. However, whereas the scientist analyses the world, the artist tries to recreate it.
The still-life artist selects and arranges what will be depicted. If landscape is observation, then still life is experiment. The view of the world typically includes artificial as well as natural objects. More often than not, the arrangement of the objects provides a moral meaning, typically one related to transience or “vanity.” The still-life painting thus comments on both the nature of reality and the process of creation.