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Kitchen Still Life
Cerezo, Mateo
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Cerezo, Mateo

Burgos (Spain), 1637 - Madrid (Spain), 1666

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Kitchen Still Life

Ca. 1664. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

A profusion of cooking utensils and hearty meats -game birds fresh from the hunt and not yet dressed, a recently-killed lamb, a calf’s head, and other cuts- are laid out on a work surface, as if the painter had found them thus in a kitchen, awaiting the preparation of a meal. The apparent disorderly informality of the painting’s composition gives it an air of immediacy and lifelikeness, but is in fact the product of Cerezo’s careful reflection. For example, the impression of homey chaos is created by the painting’s asymmetry and the presence of many diagonal lines - the lamb’s leg, the knife, the wooden spoon, and, at the rear, the black handle of an iron skillet. The elements seem to be arranged haphazardly, but each is in fact carefully placed, so that shifting any one would destroy the general balance of the composition. Although it does not stand out, the small plinths on top of which the oil bottle and the calf’s head rest would have been an unusual architectural feature in a real kitchen; they are probably a clever trick used by the painter in order to build the composition upward. Adding height would allow him to add more objects, which would be impossible if they were all on the same surface.

The vegetables and other foods shown in Spanish still-life paintings of this period are sometimes meant to represent a month or a season, often as part of a series of four or twelve paintings illustrating the cycle of the year. This particular painting is not known to have had any companions, but it does contain several elements that allow us to associate it with a particular season. Generally, lambs were allowed to grow and fatten during the summer months and killed in the autumn, around the same time of the year when the woodcock next to the bread roll would have been hunted. The meal being prepared might be a hearty stew, with different types of meats cooked over a fire with the onions and dried peppers we see in the center of the painting and seasoned with the spices in the twist of paper in the foreground. The salt pork or bacon to the right of and slightly above the lamb’s head was used to add flavor and fat to the dish. This type of cookery is still found in some regions of Spain, as are some of the copper cooking utensils in the painting: the wide, shallow skillet with rings for holding it is very much like the common paellera.

The warm, earthy tones of the picture and the way in which Cerezo handles his paint reveal his admiration for painters of the Venetian school, especially Titian. Venetian paintings of everyday subjects had been popular in Spain since the late sixteenth century, when the work of the Bassanos was imported and imitated. A Neo-Venetian style, whose main practitioner was Juan Carreño de Miranda, was very much in vogue in Madrid when Cerezo arrived there. More specifically, the influence of Antonio Pereda (1611-1678) can be felt in details such as the strong chiaroscuro and the rich impasto of Cerezo’s still-life paintings. The fact is, the connections between the two artists are so close that some confusion has arisen over the authorship of some paintings, and the Kitchen Still-Life, which is considered the work of Cerezo today has in the past been attributed to Pereda (Text drawn from Pérez d´Ors, P.: El Greco to Goya. Masterpieces from the Prado Museum, Museo de Arte de Ponce, 2012, pp. 131-132).

Technical data

Inventory number
Cerezo, Mateo
Kitchen Still Life
Ca. 1664
Height: 100 cm; Width: 127 cm
Acquired from Sucesores de Rodríguez y Jiménez S. L. for the Museo del Prado, 1970.

Bibliography +

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

La peinture espagnole du siècle d'or: de Greco a Velazquez, Association Française d'Action Artistique, París, 1976.

Young. E., New perspectives on Spanish Still-life. Painting of the Golden Age, The Burlington magazine, 1976, pp. 203-214.

The Golden Age of Spanish Painting, Royal Academy of Arts, Londres, 1976.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., D. Antonio de Pereda (1611-1678) y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Cat. exposición celebrada en Madrid, Salas de Exposiciones del Palacio de Bibliotecas y Museos, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1978.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado: adquisiciones de 1969 a 1977, Patronato Nacional de Museos, Madrid, 1978.

Díaz Padrón, Matías, 400 Años de Pintura Española, Museo de Cultura, Madrid, 1981, pp. 132.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura española de bodegones y floreros de 1600 a Goya, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1983, pp. 115.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 142-143.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Carreño, Rizi, Herrera y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura. Banco Herrero, Madrid, 1986, pp. 299.

Buendía, José Rogelio, Vida y Obra del Pintor Mateo Cerezo, 1637-1666, Diputacion Provincial, Burgos, 1986, pp. 160.

De Greco à Picasso, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1987, pp. 262-264.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E. (1935-2010)), La nature morte espagnole du XVII sièecle a Goya /, Office du Livre ; Vilo, Friburgo, 1987, pp. 121/ lám.111.

Du Greco a Goya: chefs-d'oeuvre du Prado et de collections e, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Ginebra, 1989, pp. 114.

Ayala Mallory, Nina, Del Greco a Murillo: la pintura española del Siglo de Oro, 1, Alianza, Madrid, 1991, pp. 238/ lám.212.

Alcolea Blanch, Santiago (1951-), Museo del Prado, Polígrafa, Barcelona, 1991, pp. 100.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura Española de Bodegones y Floreros, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokio, 1992.

Buendía, José Rogelio, El Prado. Colecciones de Pintura, Lunwerg Editores, Madrid, 1994, pp. 120.

Jordan, William B., El bodegón español de Velázquez a Goya, Ediciones el Viso, Madrid, 1995, pp. 83.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La belleza de lo real: floreros y bodegones españoles en el, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1995, pp. 81,82.

Jordan, William B., Spanish Still Life From Velazquez To Goya, National Gallery, Londres, 1995, pp. 96.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas, III, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1996.

Luci del secolo d'oro spagnolo, Unione LatinaPinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Bolonia, 1998, pp. 243.

Cherry, Peter, Arte y naturaleza: el bodegón español en el siglo de oro, Ediciones Doce Calles, Aranjuez, 1999, pp. 234/ lám.167.

Milicua, José, El bodegón español: de Zurbarán a Picasso, Fundación Bilbao Bizkaia KutxaMuseo de Bellas Arte, Bilbao, 1999, pp. 182.

El bodegón, Galaxia GutenbergCírculo de Lectores, Barcelona, 2000, pp. lám.49.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Pintura barroca española: guía, Museo Nacional del PradoAldeasa, Madrid, 2001, pp. 260.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel, El Bodegon en la España del Siglo de Oro, Edilupa Ediciones: S.L., Madrid, 2002, pp. 72.

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokio, 2002.

Portús Pérez, Javier, La colección de pintura española en el Museo del Prado, Edilupa, Madrid, 2003, pp. 143.

Luna, Juan J., El bodegón español en el Prado: de Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 94/95.

Romero Asenjo, Rafael, El bodegón español en el siglo XVII : desvelando su naturale..., I & R, 2009, pp. 375-377.

In the presence of things: four centuries of European still-life painting, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2010, pp. 69-117.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Las aves en el Museo del Prado, SEO/BirdLife, 2010, pp. 108,222.

Del Greco a Goya. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, Museo de Arte de Ponce. MNP. AC/E, 2012, pp. 80-81.

Aterido, A, La nature morte espagnole, Snoeck Ducaju & Zoon,, 2018, pp. n.33.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 1922.
Escuela madrileña siglo XVII / 1922. Asunto: bodegón / Lienzo: 1,00 x 2,27 / Nº de catalogo: 3159 / Adquirido por el patronato del museo en junio de 1970. / Vendedor: sucesores de Rodríguez Jiménez. por 1.500.000 pts.

Exhibitions +

Silencio en el lienzo. La naturaleza muerta en España (siglo XVII-XX)
20.06.2018 - 30.09.2018

Silencio en el lienzo. La naturaleza muerta en España (siglo XVII-XX)
20.02.2018 - 27.05.2018

From El Greco to Goya: Masterpieces from the Museo del Prado
Ponce, Puerto Rico
25.03.2012 - 16.07.2012

El bodegón español en el Prado
24.03.2011 - 26.06.2011

El bodegón español en el Prado
11.03.2010 - 06.06.2010

El bodegón español en el Prado
12.10.2009 - 14.02.2010

El bodegón español en el Prado
25.06.2009 - 20.09.2009

El bodegón español en el Prado
31.03.2009 - 31.05.2009

El bodegón español en el Prado
24.09.2008 - 30.11.2008

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado - Tokio
05.03.2002 - 23.06.2002

El bodegón español. de Zurbarán a Picasso
03.12.1999 - 19.04.2000

El siglo de oro de la pintura española
Sao Paulo
18.05.1998 - 14.06.1998

El siglo de oro de la pintura española
15.01.1998 - 12.04.1998

Spanish still life. Painting from Sánchez Cotán to Goya
22.02.1995 - 21.05.1995

Bodegones españoles
21.04.1992 - 31.05.1992

Bodegones españoles
11.02.1992 - 12.04.1992

Obras maestras de la Pintura Española: del Siglo de Oro a Goya
14.06.1989 - 24.09.1989

Displayed objects +


Decorative object and tableware: Cucharón

Bottle for cooling beverages / Jug: Garrafa de cuerpo esférico muy achatado y cuello largo y angosto.

Recipient: Caldero

Update date: 31-05-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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