A painting belonging to an unknown author and part of a group of still lifes was attributed to the master of still life Acquavella active in Rome in 1615 - 1630. This painting was exhibited at the exhibition dedicated to Italian still life together with a still life with fruit and two cherubs. The same exhibition also featured a canvas depicting musicians with still life of grapes and musical instruments. The analysis of the bunches and grape leaves present in the painting shown here with the same present in the other paintings has revealed surprising and irrefutable analogies.
As mentioned several times in the still lifes of the master of the still life Acquavella, alongside the naturalistic passages there is the representation of putti, characters or young dreamers; It is very probable that our painting belongs to a mature phase that we could define as pre-baroque, to this phase belong other paintings such as musicians with still life and musical instruments or two cantaloupe melons with two cherubs.
The analysis carried out on the group of still lifes that the critics in almost half a century of studies have cataloged under the master of still life Acquavella was exciting and revealing of an artist with an obscure name but with a very clear talent; moreover, it was instrumental in allowing us to correctly place our unpublished and wonderful painting. At first glance, observing this intriguing masterpiece, the gaze is drawn to the figure of a man with a beard, perhaps a greengrocer, who brings his first fruits to the market: the face is oriented towards the spectator while the left hand holds a basket full of fruit; behind the window to the left appears a window beyond which extends a branch bearing an American yellow pumpkin (cucurbita pepo, a vegetable grown in Holland and Flanders).
The right part of the composition presents pieces of still life of luxuriant beauty from which the gaze remains dazzled by the fruits portrayed in the basket held by the elderly personage; in the foreground, scattered apples touching the basket of apples placed on the right; in the seconds above a shelf a basket full of white and black grapes with vine shoots.
The latter piece is particularly significant in that it embodies the youthful poetics of the master of still life Acquavella in such a clear way that it almost seems like an autograph signature. It is in fact a recurring motif in the works of the admirable artist present in almost all his works.
The theme of the fruit basket with grape branches is an invention of Caravaggio, the prototype must be identified in the famous fruit basket of the Ambrosiana art gallery followed by the splendid fruit basket held in the hands of the bourgeois gallery in Rome. The idea therefore dates back to Merisi, while the notorious Master of still life Acquavella was fascinated by it and drew stimuli from it not only to develop the subject in a personal way but also more generally to elaborate a poetics based on brightness almost as if to fit into the furrow of the Merisi and to place himself in the line of continuity caravvagesca. Even the naturalism of the vine branch is of Caravaggesque ancestry.
In all these works, next to the basket, a vine branch appears, a naturalistic element loved by the master who portrays it with a realism worthy of the Dutch and Flemish still-life painters.
The unpublished canvas in which the master's hand clearly transpires highlights in the close-ups an anatomy of natural things so penetrating as to make the comparison with the still lifes of Caravaggio anything but inconvenient.
We can find the same artistic sense present here in numerous paintings attributed to the master of the still life Acquavella such as the still life Acquavella, the still life with a basket with fruit and two children from a private collection or still life from the Haboldt collection.
Analyzing our canvas, it seemed appropriate to call together a large part of the paintings attributed to the master of the still life Acquavella not only to confirm our attribution, but also to add another splendid page to the catalog of this anonymous and admirable artist. This was an opportunity to discover the mysterious and dazzling greatness of our painter who, due to his expressive originality and poetic depth, is worthy of comparison with the greatest artists of all time.
dimensions: 104 x 143 without frame and 143 x 172 cm with Frame
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3 300 €
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