MICHELANGELO PACE called MICHEANGELO DEL CAMPIDOGLIO (Rome, 1625 - 1669) and BERNHARD KEIL, called MONSU' BERNARDO (Helsingbord, 1624 - 1867, Rome)

Michelangelo del Campidoglio’s fame as a painter of still lives in his own day is attested to by numerous documentary sources and inventory entries. The abbot Luigi Lanzi, writing in the 18th century, referred to him as “excellent in depicting fruit and almost the Raphael of that genre of painting.” In 1654 three paintings by Michelangelo fede di Campidoglio appear in the inventory of Marcantonio Colonna, his association with whom would last until at least 1661, when a payment is recorded for two fruit pieces in the collection of the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna’s nephew, Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio.

The present painting is a particularly fine example of Campidoglio’s work. The concept of large open-air arrangements of fruit, often accompanied by full-length figures or animals, was among the artist’s most important contributions to the development of Roman still life painting at this period, and harks back to the work of painters such as Michelangelo Cerquozzi (1602 - 1660). The design of richly coloured and impastoed fruit cascading across uneven, rocky steps is wholly typical of Campidoglio’s work, while the compositional devices of a small lizard and broken bamboo cane act almost as his signature.

Still Life with watermelon, apples, figs, pomegranates, flowers and peaches with a young girl frightened by a monkey, ca 1660

Oil on canvas, 117 x 165 cm


Provenance
Thomas Jones (d. 1848), The Charterhouse, Hinton, Somerset; and by decent

Bibliography
Inventory of all the Household Furniture…Paintings, Prints… at Charterhouse Hinton, Somerset, entailed by the Will of the late Thomas Jones Esquire, 184, p.6 (as Campidoglio);
M. Heimbürger, Bernardo Keilhau ditto Monsù Bernardo, Rome 1988, p. 245, no. 184, reproduced (as by Keil and Abraham Brueghel);
L. Salerno, Nuovi studi su la natura morta italiana, Rome 1989, pp.152-153, no. 50, reproduced (as by Brueghel or by Campidoglio);
L.Trezzani, in G. and U. Bocchi,  Pittori di Natura morta a Roma, Vol. I. Artisti Italiani 1630-1750,  Viadana 2005, pp.418 e 443, note 26 (as Keil and Campidoglio).