LUCA FORTE (Naples 1615 - before 1670)
The garland of fruit as an artistic subject appears on several occasions in the late work of Luca Forte. A common theme in the art of the Seicento, artists turned to classical and renaissance prototypes such as garlands for inspiration. In her book, Mina Gregori notes that Jan Bruegel dei Velluti used a garland of flowers “as a mystical outline of the image of the Madonna.” Indeed, as the subject gained popularity throughout Europe, it developed a significance that went beyond its original function as a pictorial framing device.
Featuring a rich palette of bright colours and fine yet loaded brushstrokes, this canvas is an excellent example of Luca Forte’s late visual language, which has its roots both in the tradition of Dutch still life and the Neapolitan school of painting led Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652). Closely connected to the present work are the Garland of Fruit in the Pinacoteca di Bologna and a painting attributed to Forte by Gregori in a private collection.
A garland of pomegranate, grapes, peaches, corn, figs, lemons and other fruits and vegetables, with guinea fowls in the foreground
Oil on canvas, 170.4 x 119.4 cm
Naples, Museo di Capodimonte and other locations, Ritorno al Barocco. Da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli, 12 December 2009 - 11 April 2010, no. 1.212.
A. Tecce, in Ritorno al Barocco. Da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli, exh. cat., ed. Nicola Spinosa, Naples 2009, pp. 366-7, n. 1.212.