THE STANCHI FAMILY
(Active in Rome during the 17th century)A Grapevine, Fruit, Celery, and Finches, with a Stone Ledge
The Stanchi family – composed of three brothers, Giovanni (1608-1678), Niccolò (1623-1690) and Angelo (1626-1673) – formed one of the most well-established workshops active in the still life genre in Rome (of which they were all natives) during the Baroque period. Initially, Giovanni worked independently, but beginning in 1640 Niccolò, and then Angelo, began to collaborate with him. From that moment on it becomes almost impossible to distinguish individual hands in their paintings. “Bearing this in mind, with a dating to a period not before the 1640s, the handling and pigment suggest the dual authorship of Giovanni and Niccolò, recognizing that workshop practice would logically dictate that the scene was laid out by the more important of the two” (Maria Silvia Proni).
A luxuriant composition of fruit is here given a true mise en scène, with a cascade of bright colours enhanced by green and vermilion reflections. A clear, luminous landscape gives way to a stone surface, which projects towards the viewer like a sort of altar on which a sumptuous basket of fruit is offered for contemplation. Behind this, bunches of iridescent black grapes hang from a thriving vine, creating what amounts to botanical drapery. Any symbolic, religious or seasonal value yields to the artist’s creation of naturalism and atmosphere, expressed with intense sentiment.