MARIO NUZZI DETTO MARIO D' FIORI (Penna in Teverina 1603 - Rome 14 November 1673)

Mario Nuzzi, called “Mario de’ Fiori” for the recurring floral motifs in his work, trained in the Roman workshop of his uncle, Meo Salini (ca. 1575-1624). While Nuzzi’s early works are characterised by a Caravaggesque naturalism, he later developed a keen interest in contemporary Netherlandish flower painting. In 1646 he was elected a member of the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon and in 1665 became a leading member of the Accademia di San Luca.

The present pair of canvases depict bronze vases embossed with bas-reliefs of putti, horns and grotesques, a feature that recurs throughout Mario de’ Fiori’s ouevre.  According to the scholar Giancarlo Sestieri, one of Nuzzi’s tendencies is to depict “flowers of soaring vitality and others in a state of decay, a characteristic that was in keeping with the visual language of the time.”  Sestieri tells us that Nuzzi “had the ability to shape technical and cultural standards in a way that was sympathetic to Baroque taste,”.  In doing so, Nuzzi demonstrated his ability to absorb past and contemporary influences, in turn developing a pictorial style that was both personal and strongly representative of his time.

Still life with a vase of flowers

Still life with a vase of flowers

Oil on canvas, each 76 x 53 cm

F. Solinas, Flora romana: fiori e cultura nell’arte di Mario de’ Fiori (1603-1673), Rome 2010;
G. Sestieri in Nature morte italiane ed europee del XVII e XVIII secolo, ed. G. Sestieri, Rome, Galleria Cesare Lampronti, 26 ottobre –15 dicembre 2000;
L. Salerno, La natura morta italiana, Rome, 1984, pp. 174-177;
La Natura Morta Italiana, ed. F. Zeri, Milano 1964, n. 131, tav. 57 a-b.