Our unique and extraordinary artistic heritage often brings surprises in the form of unexpected discoveries. This book presents a collection of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century still lives, most of which are Emilian. The collection includes a rare painting by Bartolomeo Arbotori – recently chosen as the centrepiece of an exhibition on still life painting in Colorno in northern Italy a few years ago – and a work signed, ‘Charles Magini’, which has provided the basis for the reconstruction of the oeuvre of that highly important figure of the genre. Additionally, the collection includes a heretofore unpublished pair of still lives by the painter Cristoforo Munari. Dated to 1701, these two pieces are significant additions to the opus of the artist.
Munari is enjoying a resurgence of fame not only in Italy, but also on the international scene, due to his rare capacity for naturalistic rendering and his immense skill in painting and composition. His painting depicting a vase of flowers, presented here for the first time with the correct attribution, speaks for itself.
We are also pleased to present a pair of matching still lives by Francesco Malagoli, which attest to his particular skill in painting grapes. Painted by yet another important still life painter, Elisabetta Marchioni, we have a pair of still lives confirming her eighteenth-century reputation as the ‘celebrated painter of flowers’. From the early sixteenth century to almost the end of the seventeenth, Rome was the city where many of the great northern painters lived and worked. As the true masters of their genre, they attracted droves of young painters to the city who wished to study and learn. Of these artists, this book presents a pair of works by the as yet mysterious master of the monogram Salv., and a still life by the German painter Maximilian Pfeiler, the most successful pupil of his fellow countryman, Christian Berentz. Also presented here is a still life by the Roman painter Bartolomeo Spadino junior, the son of the more well-known Giovan Paolo Castelli – called Lo Spadino – who established the most important studio in Rome specialized in still life painting at the time.
Lastly, we present a unique still life attributed to the seventeenth-century master Pietro Ricchi, who was born in Lucca but travelled extensively throughout his career. The attribution was made by Francesca Baldassari, whose considerable contribution to this catalogue is appreciated greatly by the gallery.