Phillipe de Champaigne’s Still life of Vanitas (Sayre, A World of Art , p. 59) and Robert Mapplethorpe’s Parrot Tulip (Sayre, A World of Art , p. 62), both exemplify strangeness and silence as expressive qualities. At first glance the bright colored objects placed on the fixture capture your attention and an uncomplicated still life is observed. From one point of view the dark backgrounds and minimal existence of light suggest a somber, deathlike feeling. Mapplethorpe’s Parrot Tulip expresses an emotion of silence by drawing your focus to a flower with bright colorful petals that droops out over a vase due to its limp stem. A grief like temperament overcomes you when you incorporate the lifeless flower and the darkness of its surrounding. The flower looks as though it is “going towards the light” a well known cliché of death. But if you look again, the flower begins to suggest something not so obvious. It is unclear if the flower is about to bloom or if it has indeed run its
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