(Naples about 1600 - ante 1670)
Still life with vase of flowers, lemons and stand with apples
Oil on canvas, 50 x 67 cm
Milan, Giorgio Baratti Collection
This original painting is surely one of the remarkable examples of the “nature posing” genre of Neapolitan Luca Forte’s activity, among the initiators and certainly the biggest exponent, together with Giavan Battista Recco, of the great tradition of still life in Naples in the 17th century.
In fact, the composition in question presents, from the point of view of the exhibition of the objects, flowers and fruits presented here, all the qualities of objective rendering, due to the chromatic lights and shapes in the treatment of the individual real and natural elements, that characterise the original production of the painter around 1630, if not shortly before. This is now sufficiently documented by a series of paintings preserved in Italian and foreign public and private collections (a large documentation of these paintings can be found in the catalogue of the Neapolitan 17th Century Civilization Exhibition, presented in Naples in 1984- 1985, in the second volume of the monograph on Still Life in Italy, by F. Zeri and F. Porzio, edited by Electa in Milan in 1989 and in the catalogue of the exhibition Return to the Baroque, from Caravaggio to Vanvitelli , curated by myself and presented to Naples in 2009- 2010). In particular, the most closest links are with the Still life with a vase of flower, fruits and lemon held in a Neapolitan private collection (Naples 1984-85, I, p. 278, n. 2.90), with the Still life with tuber and crystal cup of the Corsini Gallery in Rome (Ibidem p. 279, n.2.91, the depiction of the cup and crystal vase are identical to that of the painting in question) and, in particular, for the depiction of the apples, with the small octagon which, in keeping with the one depicting cherries, strawberries and high fruits, exhibited at the Museum of Capodimonte from the Museum of Duke of Martina in Naples (Ibidem p.281, no. 2.93 a-b).
The flowers, by contrast, are made with the same witty objectivity of other compositions by Luca Forte, who have been placed as critics at the beginning of the 1630s: a period to which the canvas examined here probably also belongs.
Nicola Spinosa
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