Still Life with Flowers and Fruit Caravaggio Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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This is a still-life art by the famous Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio who was one of the most eminent Italian masters of his generation.

His paintings were an authentic reflection of the physical and emotional facets of various human situations of those times.

His depictions have a fascinating contrasting arrangement of light and dark aimed at creating a captivating three-dimensional effect of the subjects he portrayed.

This process of using shadow and highlighting elements to create solidity of form and heightening the emotional intensity became one of his signature style statements. This innovative technique which came to be known as tenebrism had a profound influence on great artists of the next generation.

His representations were realistic and were directly done on the canvas without drawing it first. He preferred to paint his subjects in their natural state, with all their flaws and defects instead of representing idealised creations. After an intermediate wane, interest in his work got revived in the 20th century, and his art works were considered as the dawn of modern art. The splendid artist produced some brilliant still-life artwork with amazing attention to individual objects. In fact, he has been acknowledged as the father of Roman still-life painting.

This Still Life with Flowers and Fruit illustration which has been credited to Caravaggio is a baroque-style oil on canvas with a dimension of 184 x 105 cm. It is currently on display in the Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy. The picture depicts a variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables lying in a woven basket and on the floor of what most probably is a storage area for raw food materials.

It also has a beautiful vase of multi-coloured flowers highlighted in a shaft of light falling from an opening or window at the top of one of the walls. There is an amazing contrast of light and shadows in play here. Some of the objects which are in the dark shadow areas have some light reflected on them. Some other objects like the flowers and the vase revel in the glory of direct light falling on them making them the centre of attraction. There is a wide selection of seasonal vegetables and fruits including some large pumpkins, melons, cabbage, root vegetables, apples, pears, grapes, and berries.

This artistic portrayal is a magnificent study of texture, form, and light, with a rich and intricate depiction of the Renaissance symbols of fruit and vegetables. The image is not as simple as it seems and is actually quite complex. It may convey more meaning than the most apparent one. If you look very closely, you will see two lizards on the floor facing each other as if contemplating a fight. One of them is very big like a garden lizard, and the other is a small house lizard.

It is important to note that Caravaggio very frequently included still-life elements in his works, but only two independent still-life paintings of his have been identified as authentic till date. These are the Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge and the Basket of Fruit at the Ambrosiana in Milan. The Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge is considered to be the most important picture for the artist and is regarded as a masterpiece of still life.