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Still Life with Grapes, Apples and Plums
Espinosa, Juan de
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Espinosa, Juan de

1628, 1659

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Still Life with Grapes, Apples and Plums

Ca. 1630. Oil on canvas.
Not on display

This complex and convincing composition painted from a frontal perspective appears to be divided into two well-connected halves. In the lower half, which is nearer the viewer, the artist has placed a wooden shelf or plank that is chipped in several places, in the manner of a table, on which several elements are skilfully arranged. On the left is a metal plate -silver or pewter on which six masterfully painted red apples lie and are reflected. The light helps emphasise the varied hues of their skin, while the opacity of their surface and the tendency to emphasise volume contrasts almost theatrically with the transparent effect of the grapes beside them. In the centre are two bunches of white grapes from which projects a very fine, elegantly drawn tendril. The texture of their skin is achieved with the extraordinary skilful use of highlighting to suggest a glasslike translucency. On the right, further into the background, is a red dish vessel similar to those found in works by Spanish artists of the time, which resembles surviving pieces of Mexican origin (ceramic ware from Tonalá, Jalisco, Guadalajara) made of fragrant clay, which were commonly used to cool and perfume liquids in 17th-century Spain. The upper half of the painting displays branches with clusters of grapes of different varieties, black and red, suspended from pieces of string in the manner of Sánchez Cotán (1560-1627) of the Spanish school, and plums arranged vertically against a neutral background, whose texture and volume are achieved by means of transparency and powerful illumination. The beam of light that enters top left is a tenebrist device and powerfully strikes the carefully drawn objects, illuminating some areas of the fruits and leaves from behind in order to create different planes, while establishing a connection between the upper and lower areas of the canvas. In addition to the influence of Juan Fernández el Labrador (documented between 1630 and 1636), which Jordan (1985) has underlined, the artist must surely have been familiar with still life paintings from the Flemish countries, as he assimilated their painstaking, precise technique and the ability to reflect the transparency and variations of the different skin textures. The picture, which was studied by Perez Sanchez (1983), who dated it to around 1630 or slightly later on the basis of the artist´s choice of luminous colours, is curious in that the 1872 museum catalogue compiled under Pedro de Madrazo states that it was signed, and this was repeated in subsequent editions. The signature is not visible today; however, the acquisition for the Musee du Louvre in 1973 of a painting of similar subject matter, technique and quality signed by Espinosa has reinforced the attribution proposed in the 19th century. Although there is no signature, the attribution is based on analyses conducted of the artist´s works. Indeed, the preciosity of the technique, the contoured backlit leaves and curving movement of the tendrils are found in the known paintings attributed to Juan Bautista de Espinosa. The artist probably borrowed the idea of the hanging grapes from the famous paintings by the aforementioned Labrador. The combination of hanging grapes and plums in this painting by Espinosa, for example, greatly recalls the latter´s use of these same motifs in his works. The artist may even have attempted to take advantage of the huge demand for Labrador´s still lifes in Madrid, which were difficult to come by as his visits to the city were infrequent (Text drawn from Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, pp. 350-351).

Technical data

Inventory number
Espinosa, Juan de
Still Life with Grapes, Apples and Plums
Ca. 1630
Height: 76 cm; Width: 59 cm
Royal Collection (Collection of Felipe V, Quinta del duque del Arco, El Pardo-Madrid, "séptima pieza", 1745, no. 201(?); Quinta del duque del Arco, "pieza sexta del gabinete", 1794, no. 102).

Bibliography +

Cavestany, Julio, Floreros y bodegones en la pintura española: catalogo ilustr, Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte, Madrid, 1936, pp. 76.

Mayer, August L. (1885-1944), Historia de la pintura española, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1942, pp. 461.

Kubler, George, Art and Architecture in Spain and Portugal and their american dominios 1500-1800., Penguin Books, Baltimore, 1959, pp. 235.

Sterling, C., Still-life painting from antiquity to the present time, París, 1959, pp. 143.

Torres Martin, Ramon, La naturaleza muerta en la pintura española, Seix Barral, Barcelona, 1971, pp. lám.3.

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

Bottineau, Y., Nouveaux régards sur la peinture espagnole du XVI el XVII siècle, La Revue du Louvre, 5/6, 1975, pp. 314.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., D. Antonio de Pereda (1611-1678) y la pintura madrileña de su tiempo, Ministerio de Cultura, Dirección General del Patrimonio, Madrid, 1978, pp. nº75.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., Pintura española de bodegones y floreros de 1600 a Goya, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 1983, pp. 59.

Cherry, P., Exhibitions Reviews: Madrid, Still life painting, The Burlington magazine, 1984, pp. 60.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 211.

Jordan, W. B., Spanish still life in the Golden Age: 1600-1650, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1985, pp. 167.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., La nature morte espagnole du XVII sièecle a Goya, Office du Livre; Vilo, Friburgo, 1987, pp. 65/ lám.50.

Gutierrez Pastor, I., Juan de Espinosa y otros pintores homónimos del siglo XVII, Príncipe de Viana, 1988, pp. 215.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado: inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

García Saiz y León, C., Exotismo y belleza en una cerámica, Artes de México, 1991, pp. 34-49.

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

Urrea, Jesús, Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV, Museo del Prado-Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, Madrid, 1994, pp. 52.

Urrea, Jesús, Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV, Museo del Prado-Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, Madrid, 1994, pp. nº10.

Museo Nacional del Prado, La belleza de lo real: floreros y bodegones españoles en el, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1995, pp. 65-66.

Jordan, William B., Spanish Still Life From Velazquez To Goya, National Gallery, Londres, 1995, pp. 68.

Cherry, Peter, Arte y naturaleza: el bodegón español en el siglo de oro, Ediciones Doce Calles, Aranjuez(Madrid), 1999, pp. 209.

Arte y saber: la cultura en tiempos de Felipe III y Felipe I, Ministerio de Educación y Cultura, Madrid, 1999, pp. nº29.

Milicua, José, El bodegón español: de Zurbarán a Picasso, Fundación Bilbao Bizkaia KutxaMuseo de Bellas Arte, Bilbao, 1999, pp. 130.

Ebert-Schifferer, Sybille, Natures Mortes, Citadelles & Mazenod, Paris, 1999, pp. 193.

El bodegón, Galaxia GutenbergCírculo de Lectores, Barcelona, 2000, pp. lám.46.

Esplendores de Espanha de el Greco a Velázquez, Arte Viva, Río de Janeiro, 2000, pp. 230-231.

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokio, 2002, pp. nº53.

Aterido Fernández, Ángel; Martínez Cuesta, Juan; Pérez Preciado, José Juan, Colecciones de pinturas de Felipe V e Isabel Farnesio. Inventarios Reales, II, Fundación de Apoyo de la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2004, pp. 394.

De Tiziano a Goya: grandes maestros del Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado: SEACEX, Madrid, 2007, pp. 213-215.

Luna, Juan J., El bodegón español en el Prado: de Van der Hamen a Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 66/67.

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

Aterido, A, La nature morte espagnole, Snoeck Ducaju & Zoon,, 2018, pp. n.17.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 55.
Espinosa (Juan de) / 55. Frutero, con peras, racimos, un plato de manzanas y un bucaro. / Alto 2 pies, 9 pulg; ancho 2 pies, 1 pulg, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 725.
725.-Frutero. / Alto 0,76. Ancho 0,59.-Lienzo. / Un ramo de peras de San Juan, racimos de uvas blancas y negras, un plato con manzanas, y un búcaro. -Firmado.

Inv. Felipe V, Quinta duque del Arco, 1745. Núm. [201?].
Septima Pieza [...] [201-202] Dos fruteros de vara de alto, y tres quartas de ancho con marcos dorados, y tallados =

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Quinta duque del Arco, 1794. Núm. 102.
Pieza Sexta del Gabinete [...] 102 - Dos varas de alto dos tercias de ancho, un frutero con unas uvas y manzanas = 500

Exhibitions +

La hija del virrey. Un ajuar novohispano del siglo XVII
29.10.2018 - 03.03.2019

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

El bodegón español en el Prado. Alcoi
24.03.2011 - 26.06.2011

El bodegón español en el Prado
12.03.2010 - 09.05.2010

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

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
13.09.2007 - 12.11.2007

From Titian to Goya. Great Masters from the Museo del Prado
29.06.2007 - 24.08.2007

Obras Maestras del Museo del Prado - Tokio
05.03.2002 - 23.06.2002

De El Greco a Velázquez. La cultura española durante la Unión Ibérica, 1580-1640
Río de Janeiro
12.07.2000 - 24.09.2000

El bodegón español. de Zurbarán a Picasso
03.12.1999 - 19.04.2000

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
03.11.1995 - 03.12.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.09.1995 - 29.10.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
02.06.1995 - 02.07.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.04.1995 - 28.05.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
24.03.1995 - 23.04.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
17.02.1995 - 19.03.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
13.01.1995 - 12.02.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
02.12.1994 - 08.01.1995

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
28.10.1994 - 27.11.1994

Pintores del reinado de Felipe IV
22.09.1994 - 23.10.1994

Bodegones españoles
21.04.1992 - 31.05.1992

Bodegones españoles
11.02.1992 - 12.04.1992

Displayed objects +


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

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