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February. Winter still life
Barrera, Francisco
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Barrera, Francisco

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February. Winter still life

1640. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

The inscription, February, indicates that this still life belongs to a series on the twelve months of the year, of which at least five others have been located. Each depicts foodstuffs, floral elements or landscapes from its corresponding month. Here, hunting game is the predominant theme, especially birds, and there is also an interesting allusion to chocolate. While the latter was drunk for most of the year, it was particularly associated with the winter, as a tasty response to the cold. A chocolate pot is heating among the coals of a brazier alongside three lacquered cups of foreign origin, some cakes and a spoon. The season is also indicated by the landscape visible through the opening in the background: a desolate, snowy terrain. Organized in steps that facilitate the presentation of a broad variety of objects, the composition reflects earlier still lifes by Van der Hamen from the 1620s, although it differs from them in its much more variegated presentation.

Documents reveal Barrera’s dedication to religious painting, but his identified works are all still lifes, especially the present type of series. The Museum in Seville has one dedicated to the four seasons, signed by him in 1638. In these series, he mixes local tradition with enumerative techniques and an allegorical air that come from the world of Flemish painting. This work is an outstanding addition to the Prado’s overall collection of Spanish painting, and even more so, to its collection of still lifes. Until now, the Prado had no works by Francisco Barrera, and no still life with this sort of serial typology.

Technical data

Inventory number
Barrera, Francisco
February. Winter still life
Height: 101 cm; Width: 156 cm
Vicente Pío Osorio de Moscoso, XV Count of Altamira, until 1864; By inheritance to his daughter, Duchess of Sanlúcar La Mayor; Trafalgar Galleries, London, 1983; Collection of Plácido Arango Arias; Bequest of Plácido Arango Arias, 2015.

Bibliography +

Cohen, R. (ed.), Trafalgar Galleries at The Royal Academy III, Londres, 1983, pp. 30, n. 11.

Jordan, W. B., Spanish still life in the Golden Age: 1600-1650, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1985, pp. 188-90, n. 32.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., La nature morte espagnole du XVII sièecle a Goya, Office du Livre; Vilo, Friburgo, 1987, pp. 67, fig. 60.

Cherry, Peter, Arte y naturaleza: el bodegón español en el siglo de oro, Ediciones Doce Calles, Madrid, 1999, pp. 199-206, lám. XLIV.1.

Oppermann, Ira, Das spanische Stillleben im 17. Jahrhundert, Reimer, Berlin, 2007, pp. 64, lám. 49.

Pérez Preciado, J. J., El marqués de Leganés y las artes. Tesis Doctoral, 2008, pp. 943, 954.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Plácido Arango Arias. Donación de 25 obras maestras de su colección de arte antiguo al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2015, pp. n. 9.

Jordan. W.B, 'Francisco Barrera. Febrero , Bodegón de Invierno' En:, Donación de Plácido Arango Arias al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2016, pp. 38-39 n.10.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2015, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 44-45.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2906.

Inscriptions +

Front, lower central area

Update date: 05-11-2021 | Registry created on 24-08-2015

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