The fine canvas depicts a still life with a rich composition of flowers and fruit set in an open space of which, however, we see few elements transpire from the dark background. At the center of the canvas, slightly to the right, a large vase is luxuriantly adorned with festoons and triumphs of flowers that, falling, lie in the foreground resting on an architectural element in stone. To the left, in the foreground, lies a concave dish, from which is poured fruit, peaches and bunches of white grapes. Another grape is resting on the right rich in its black and white colors and with large vine leaves that balance the overall composition. In the background, a wall surrounds the scene and creates as a curtain beyond which the darkness of the night leaves only to imagine branches and trees.
The work is certainly attributable to the illustrious painter of still lifes Michele Antonio Rapos (or Raposo, not Rapous as many erroneously write, the name of which is French). Rapos is certainly recognized as the best author of still lifes in Piedmont between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Much appreciated by the Savoy court and the local nobility, the artist is present in the main court residences and in numerous palaces and private castles throughout Piedmont.
Michele Antonio Rapos was born in Turin, Italy, in 1733, to Giuseppe Antonio and Anna Teresa Chiaravelli, and died there in 1819. Brother of Vittorio Amedeo, also an important court painter, specializes in the genre of still lifes gaining success at the Savoy court from which he receives commissions for the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale, of Stupinigi, for the Royal Palace of Turin.
The still lifes of Rapos have particular characteristics that make them easily identifiable: among the fruits stand out bunches of grapes, peaches, plums, pears, sometimes pomegranates, melons and figs; among the flowers, often collected in large monumental vases, you can admire delicate roses, fluffy peonies, carnations and tulips. The architectural and decorative elements, among which the vases or with bas-relief and porcelain elements, are inspired by the great models of the French tradition, in the style of Louis XV. Rapos interprets the Rococo Piedmontese taste with grace and decorative gracefulness, manifesting to know the French still-life painters of the eighteenth century, such as Jean-Baptiste Blain de Fontenay, François de Cuvilliés and Alexandre-François Desporte. His first still lifes, dating back to around 1755, still have late-horned results, dark backgrounds, lush nature, landscapes wrapped in darkness, from which emerge flowers and fruits, decorative elements.
In the canvas presented here, dating from about 1780, the dark leaves of the fifth to the scene make more suggestive the composition, in which the flowers and fruits stand out with colors, lively and harmonious, tuned mainly in the range of red, from vermilion to scarlet, white and blue.
Characteristic of the artist is the use of a delicate brush stroke and the velvety fruit yield, particularly evident in the description of grapes and peaches.
The work, of great pictorial quality but small in size, belongs to the most intimate production of the artist, who paints many paintings of similar structure for a private collection that loved to adorn the hilly residences of Turin, where he spent his summer holidays, with paintings with pleasant and pleasant subjects.
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