Still life A still life (plural still lifes as opposed to still lives), also called stilleben, has been with us for a long time indeed. There are examples of still life painting that date back to the Greco-roman era and others painted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs. Typically it is work depicting mostly inanimate subject matter such as food flowers and the likes. At various points of time these objects have referred to symbols religious or other as loaded with meaning for many people. Still life painting were once very popular in Flanders and the Netherlands. The topic is wide and this introductory article may server as a good starting point. See also words: vanitas, memento mori, and breakfast painting.