In this, the only up-to-date critical work on still life painting in any language, Norman Bryson analyses the origins, history and logic of 'still life', one of the most enduring forms of Western painting. The first essay is devoted to Roman wall-painting while in the second the author surveys a major segment in the history of still life, from seventeenth-century Spanish painting to Cubism. The third essay tackles the controversial field of seventeenth-century Dutch still life. Bryson concludes in the final essay that the persisting tendency to downgrade the genre of still life is profoundly rooted in the historical oppression of women. In "Looking at the Overlooked," Norman Bryson is at his most brilliant to date. These superbly written essays will stimulate us to look at the entire tradition of still life with new and critical eyes.