About The Artwork
Very little is known about the life or education of French artist Fernand Renard, whose painting Fleurs Dans Un Vase Blanc follows in the tradition of the table-top still life begun in seventeenth century Holland. Renard portrayed his still life images in a decidedly trompe l’oeil manner, producing an extremely tightly finished surface with no visible brushstrokes.
Perfectly centered on a shallow shelf and set against an earth-tone background, an off-white vase with red accents holds a small floral arrangement. A variety of flowers at different stages of maturity fill the vessel. Some are still in the bud stage (a few tightly closed, others just about to open), several are shown at the peak of freshness, and a few have begun to drop their petals, which lay on the shelf. This is not, however, a natural or even warm looking bouquet. The contours of the flowers and vase are crisp and neatly delineated. Indeed, Renard renders the objects with almost surgical precision, creating an idealized still life rather than a realistic one.
Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University