Still life has been a subject very much favored by artists through the years. Traditionally in the past, some of the objects in a still life were often selected for their symbolic meaning. In Byzantine art, a pomegranate symbolized eternal life, divine prosperity or unity of the Christian community, but this was not always the case. Paul Cezanne, for instance, is perhaps the most famous modern painter of apples simply for the colors, shapes, and perspective possibilities.
With its origin in the Middle-Ages and Ancient Greco-Roman art, still life paintings emerged as a distinct genre and professional specialization in Western painting. By the late 16th century, it became an admired and seek after subject matter for artists of all ages and social stratus, and it has remained significant ever since.