Painting oil on canvas measuring 50 x 99 cm without frame and 60 x 111 cm with coeval frame, depicting a still life of fruit by the painter Giovanni Paolo Castelli called Spadino (Rome 1659 - 1730).
This magnificent canvas, hitherto unpublished to my knowledge, depicts an exhibition of fruit arranged outdoors at the edge of a wood (apples, peaches, black grapes and pizzutella white grapes, two split watermelons and a plum), and on the edge of a course of water, with a hilly landscape that opens on the left.
Fruit is placed in the foreground, very close to the observer's point of view, and occupies most of the visual field with its bright and festive colors.
The painter does not look for a particular spatial geometry or constructive scheme, but abandons himself to a skilful and brilliant chromatic texture of the surfaces, through a pictorial material spread with exceptional fluidity and vibration, if we want even sensual in its luminous and 'tactile' body according to the taste of full baroque.
The quality is excellent and the style appears surprisingly free and evocative, even if it retains traces of the ancient Flemish naturalism typical of the Roman Baroque still life, strongly conditioned by the work of Abraham Brueghel, as evidenced for example by the very small drops of dew visible, or bright reflections on grapes or on the pulp of watermelons.
These are all elements that undoubtedly indicate as the author one of the most important specialists of this pictorial genre in late Baroque Rome: Giovanni Paolo Castelli known as Lo Spadino.
As is well known, Giovanni Paolo Castelli belonged to a family of still life specialists preeminent in Rome in the second half of the seventeenth century (even if of Marche origin), and he himself immediately achieved considerable fame, as evidenced by numerous inventories of the most important families. Roman (since 1689 he had painted for the Chigi family) as well as the lists of well-known exhibitions at San Salvatore in Lauro, in which his works appear frequently, thanks also to the widespread diffusion of his paintings carried out by his brothers-in-law Giovanni and Tommaso (brothers of wife Apollonia de Marchis), who by profession were art dealers. In 1725 Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili owned eleven Spadinos, several others were owned by Spada and Rospigliosi; many were also preserved in Naples and Florence (for example at the Corsinis), a sign of a reputation that had expanded well beyond the city limits.
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