I just realised I'm a sucker for a particularly formulaic genre of still life painting, which I only just noticed is kind of cheesy: Stack of Old Books.
The genre comes in several variations:
Stack of Old Books with Candle
probably more than any other...
seriously, I could have gone on all day...
Stack of Old Books with Fruit (usually, but not always, an apple or a pear on top of the books)
(Yes, yes, we get it... snake, apple, knowledge...)
Stack of Old Books with Other Old-Timey Desk Stuff
Stack of Old Books with Tea Cup seems popular
The latest thing seems to be Stack of Old Books with Birds
And of course, my favourite, Stack of Old Books with Memento Mori,
good old "Vanitas"
I've already succumbed to the temptation once. But in my defence, it was a class exercise.
Of course, it might be a bit harsh to call it cliche. In some sense, these subjects and styles are more or less obligatory for artists.
I've got a lot of books, and some of them are appropriately decrepit and dusty. I've also got tea cups, candle sticks, some odds and ends of spooky-looking Dickensian desk stuff and even a skull or two.
Please remind me never to put them all together in a still life.
I'm working on a new skull. Not this one.
One of the sheep skulls I found on my walks. I was thinking of adding a book, but now maybe I won't.