by Mary Beth Sutter October 15, 2017, In Art, Exhibitions

A 21st Century Renaissance

When the IGPOTY adds a new genre to its range of competition categories, it a significant photographic moment.  The International Garden Photographer of the Year is one of my very favourite annual events which includes the most gorgeous coffee table book and an exhibition is installed in the Nash Conservatory of Kew Gardens — a short walk from my house!  The photography is always outstanding and for anyone wanting one of the most remarkable, meditative events, it’s a must-see on the spring calendar.

This year the IGPOTY has introduced the category of still life.  I absolutely adore this type of painting, especially the Dutch and Spanish work which emerged after the Middle Ages. The inspiration for my submission to IGPOTY is an oil painting by the 17 Century Spanish painter, Juan Sanchez Cotan called Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, ca 1602.


I’m very moved by the still life image – using a small setting and a particular way of lighting to raise everyday things into objects of contemplation and appreciation.  I tried to recreate the sense of calm that Cotan achieved by putting my flowers (from Zita Elze) into a section of an Ikea bookcase that looks in some ways like the larder which Cotan used when he painted his pieces in a Spanish monastery.