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Kitchen Boy
López Caro, Francisco
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López Caro, Francisco

1598, 1661

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Kitchen Boy

Ca. 1620. Oil on canvas.
Room 010

A table bears various earthenware vessels, a portable stove, a bronze mortar and two peppers. At its corner, a boy looks out of the painting. A sausage and a rabbit hang from above. The boy and objects are depicted with a naturalist technique that explores the descriptive possibilities of contrasting light and shadows with a particular taste for dark browns and earth tones in general.

This concept of painting was common when Velázquez was beginning, and the present canvas shares several other aspects with his work, as well: some of the vessels resemble those in Velázquez’s still lifes, and the boy is also of a similar type, notwithstanding the obvious difference in quality. These similarities are explained by the fact that López Caro began his career in Seville around the same time as Velázquez, and that makes this a very interesting example of the impact that the latter’s earliest works had on local artists. Various paintings reflect that influence, but unlike the others, this one is signed, which opens the way to greater knowledge of that setting.

From the standpoint of the Museo del Prado, this work offers many things. It is by an artist formerly absent from the museum’s collections; it contributes to an understanding of Velázquez’s impact on his surroundings in Seville, and along with recently acquired works by Loarte and Jerónimo Jacinto Espinosa, it helps to draw attention to a subgenre of Spain’s Siglo de Oro painting -that of still lifes with figures- which have barely been represented in the museum’s collections until now.

Technical data

Inventory number
López Caro, Francisco
Kitchen Boy
Ca. 1620
Height: 60 cm; Width: 98.4 cm
Christie's, London, June 10, Lot 13, 1932; Private collection, London, 1935; Mr. Everett Collection, London, 1963; Art market, London, 1987; Collection of Plácido Arango Arias; Bequest of Plácido Arango Arias, 2015.

Bibliography +

Harris, E., Obras españolas de pintores desconocidos, Revista Española de Arte, XII, 1935, pp. 258-59.

López Rey, José, Velázquez: a catalogue raisonné of his oeuvre, Faber and Faber, Londres, 1963, pp. 154-155 nº 97.

Haraszti-Takacs, Marianne, Spanish genre painting in the seventeenth century, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1983, pp. n. 52.

Jordan, W. B. (ed.), Spanish Still-Life in the Golden Age: 1600-1650, 1985, pp. 77, 79, fig. III. 8.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., La nature morte espagnole du XVII sièecle a Goya, Office du Livre; Vilo, Friburgo, 1987, pp. 106-7, fig. 97.

Cherry, Peter, Still-Life and Genre Painting in Spain in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century. Tesis Doctoral, II, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Londres, 1991, pp. 473-80.

Harris, E., The Question of Velázquez’s Assistants, Velázquez in Seville, National Gallery of Scotland, 1996, pp. 77-78.

Cherry, Peter, Arte y naturaleza: el bodegón español en el siglo de oro, Ediciones Doce Calles, Madrid, 1999, pp. 130-31, lám. XXIX.

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. 10.

Jordan, W. B, 'Francisco López Caro. Pícaro de cocina' En:, Donación de Plácido Arango Arias al Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado,, Madrid, 2016, pp. 34-35 n.8.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de actividades 2015, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2016, pp. 46-47.

Other inventories +

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

Location +

Room 010 (On Display)

Update date: 08-03-2022 | Registry created on 24-08-2015

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