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Sculpted Grotesques with Flowers
Corte, Gabriel de la
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Corte, Gabriel de la

Madrid (Spain), 1648 - Madrid (Spain), 1694

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Sculpted Grotesques with Flowers

1670 - 1680. Oil on canvas.
Room 018

This canvas and its pendant (P7929) must have been part of a series of similar works painted between 1670 and 1680, as indicated by a third piece (Abelló Collection). Together, they bear witness to the artist’s mastery of both real and imaginary floral subjects, and in fact, he was a specialist in this genre, with a distinguished reputation among his colleagues during the second half of the 17th century. Flower painting was a profitable activity and it took root in Madrid as subjects with floral motifs became increasingly popular. This is due, in part, to the success of Juan de Arellano, who powerfully promoted this subject matter in the context of the still life, which had favored traditional scenes over decorative floral depictions during the reign of Philip III and the first three decades of Philip IV.

Deeply involved in the floral genre, Gabriel de la Corte broadened the field with new interpretations and formulas characterized by a freer, denser and more impasto execution than his peers. He also took an interest in more crowded compositions that sometimes reflect a veritable horror vacui. Here, he drew on sculptural elements whose believable volumes bear witness to his skill at drawing. The tonality is somewhat darker than straightforward grisaille, and the calculated play of light produces the illusion of moldings standing out against a very somber background. Since these moldings sometimes establish a contrasting relationship with the colorful seed-producing flowers resting against them or placed nearby, they play an important role in the overall conception of the work as its main complementary elements. As Portús points out (2006, no. 27), their peculiarity is also due to the fact that these supporting elements do not have their own abstract or architectural nature. Instead, they are the result of an application of plant shapes to their own purely ornamental language. In other words, the scrolls and arabesques have clearly botanical roots.

Thus, they exhibit two different manners of transforming the original object through artistic representation. All of this leads the viewer to perceive a decorative image whose fundamental protagonists -flowers in full bloom- are held by fine ties to a solid stone or wood structure that seems to hang in the air. This produces a sense of drapery, in which the floral forms harmonize with supports whose particular nature suggests vegetation that has turned to stone, creating a dialog between permanence and fleeting temporality (Text drawn from Luna, J. J. : El bodegón español en el Prado. De Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 110).

Technical data

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Inventory number
Corte, Gabriel de la
Sculpted Grotesques with Flowers
1670 - 1680
Height: 61 cm; Width: 81 cm
Rosendo Naseiro Collection, Madrid; acquired for the Prado Museum, 2006.

Bibliography +

Cherry, Peter, Arte y naturaleza: el bodegón español en el siglo de oro, Ediciones Doce Calles, Madrid, 1999, pp. 72-73.

Cherry, Peter, La Pintura de Bodegón en las Colecciones del Museo Cerralbo, Ministerio de Educación, Madrid, 2001, pp. 72.

Flores españolas del Siglo de Oro: la pintura de flores en la España del siglo XVII, Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2002, pp. nº37.

Lo fingido verdadero. Bodegones de la colección Naseiro adquiridos para el Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2006, pp. 83.

Natures mortes de Sánchez Cotán a Goya a l'entorn de la col...., Museu Nacional d'Art de Cataluny, Barcelona, 2007.

Luna, Juan J., El bodegón español en el Prado: de Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 110/111.

Romero Asenjo, Rafael, El bodegón español en el siglo XVII : desvelando su naturale..., I & R, Madrid, 2009, pp. 355-359.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2730.

Inscriptions +

Gal de la Cor / te fbá
Signed. Front, lower right corner

Exhibitions +

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

Naturalezas muertas. De Sánchez Cotán a Goya. En el entorno de la Colección Naseiro
26.03.2007 - 24.06.2007

Lo fingido verdadero. Bodegones españoles de la colección Naseiro adquiridos para el Prado.<br />
24.10.2006 - 07.01.2007

Location +

Room 018 (On Display)

Update date: 05-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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