Undamaged. Still Lifes from the Spanish Golden Age

Undamaged. Still Lifes from the Spanish Golden Age

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Price: 
€ 4
Curator: 
Joan Yeguas
Location: 
Temporary exhibition room 2
PDF icon Press file (Spanish) - pdf 1,31 Mb

Press file (Spanish) - pdf 1,31 Mb

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Maestro de Stirling-Maxwell, Still Life with Basket of Fruits, Pumpkin and Grapes, ca. 1615-1625. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. One of the most traditional still lifes depicts the farmhouse larder. A composition that pleases the eye and features a layout of natural produce, arranged either in an orderly fashion or rather haphazardly. These scenes convey the often idealised message of the simple, peaceful life of country folk.
Juan van der Hamen, Still Life with Fruits and Vase, 1626. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Van der Hamen’s graded shelves constitute a modernised version of the rustic larder concept. This innovation may have been fruit of the coming to Madrid in 1626 of Cassiano dal Pozzo, a man of vast knowledge who was familiar with the comments by Pliny the Elder on similar works from ancient Rome.
Pedro de Camprobín, Dish of Figs, ca. 1656. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Small-format paintings that depict a dish or basket of fruit are rarely works in their own right. They are normally either preparatory sketches or else fragments from a larger still life (or historiated episode); in other words, they constitute details of a more comprehensive work.
Tomás Hiepes, Still Life with Fruit and Vase with Flowers, ca. 1645-1650. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. In another variation of the still life, the larder is transferred to the table and, together with items of food, sumptuous kitchen utensils are displayed, sometimes even vases of flowers.A sub-genre much in demand from a well-to-do clientele who sought to show off their wealth through this kind of painting.
Tomás Hiepes, Four Circular Still Lifes, ca. 1649. Still lifes featuring a landscape background to fruit and vegetables constituted an innovative format in 17th century Spanish painting. Of Flemish and Italian origin, this kind of background characterised the so-called seasonal still lifes, linked to the seasons of the year.
Juan de Arellano, Basket of Flowers, ca. 1670. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Paintings depicting vases of flowers constituted a major, very profitable sub-genre with artists specialising in the field. They are clearly decorative works that depict in detail both the plants and the recipients that contain them. Sometimes, however, they also have symbolic connotations.
Master of the written Vanitas, Vanitas, ca. 1650. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The vanitas reflects on the fleeting nature of life by depicting objects that allude to man’s ephemeral existence on this earth. Symbols are featured linked to the desire for admiration (by virtue of wealth, power or knowledge), while others refer to worldly delights and vices.
Juan van der Hamen, Cardoon with Basket of Apples, Carrots, Citron and Hanging Oranges, 1622. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya
Antonio Ponce, The Month of May, ca. 1635-1640. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya