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Still Life with White Grapes

Michelangelo Cerquozzi

(1602 - 1660) | 822.1.42

Date : Circa 1650 | Medium : Oil on canvas

Michelangelo Cerquozzi is mainly known for his battle scenes, which earned him the nickname ‘Michelangelo delle Battaglie’, but he also painted genre scenes, historical paintings and still lifes. His large still lifes, where displays of fruit mingle with nature against a country background, seem even to have inspired a whole new vein in the genre among Neapolitan artists passing through Rome in the mid-17th century, according to Charles Sterling.

In Rome, at this period, ‘the Baroque taste swept away all traces of the Caravaggist spirit,’ to quote Sterling again. In other words, and as is evident in the Rouen painting, the respectful depiction of reality as such, inspired by Caravaggio, yields to layout, staging and a decorative lyricism. But here the layout is still subtle, the staging remains natural, the fruits blend well with the landscape, and there are none of the sweeping gestures or accumulations of fruit that would soon be seen all over Italy in the work of the Roman painter Mario Nuzzi, the Neapolitan artist Porpora and Fieravino (‘Il Maltese’): a style that spread rapidly to France.