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    Sale 7806

    Lord St. Helens and Sir William FitzHerbert The Collections of a Diplomat and a Courtier

    22 January 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 559

    Studio of Michelangelo Cerquozzi (Rome 1602-1660)

    A girl holding a bunch of grapes, with a melon, squashes, plums and other fruit, in a landscape

    Price Realised  


    Studio of Michelangelo Cerquozzi (Rome 1602-1660)
    A girl holding a bunch of grapes, with a melon, squashes, plums and other fruit, in a landscape
    oil on canvas
    57 x 67 in. (144.5 x 170.2 cm.)
    in an English mid-18th Century carved, gilded and gesso frame

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    Michelangelo Cerquozzi is recorded by his first biographers Giovan Battista Passeri and Filippo Baldinucci as a painter of still-lifes, battle scenes and bambocciate. He was educated as a still-life painter in the 1620s and 1630s, perhaps in the circle of Agostino Verrocchi. He is considered the inventor of the dal naturale genre of still-life composition, which prefers an outdoor setting with full-length figures depicted in the act of picking or arranging fruit, transforming the still-life into a pastoral scene. Such paintings, often of a large format, are often attributed to Cerquozzi in various inventories of seventeenth-century collections. Some of them have been identified, and a small catalogue of his oeuvre as still-life painter is taking shape on the basis of his figures, whose poses and physiognomies recur in several of his compositions.

    Giuliano Briganti was the first art historian to work on the oeuvre of Cerquozzi, followed more recently by Laura Laureati (see L. Laureati, 'Michelangelo Cerquozzi (Roma 1602-1660)' in G. Bocchi and U. Bocchi, eds., Pittori di natura morta a Roma: Artisti italiani 1630-1750, Verona, 2005, pp. 43-65). This picture can be fruitfully compared to the group of paintings established by these two scholars, with resemblance in both the fruit and the female figure. On the other hand, some differences in the colder palette and in the execution of some types of fruit, as well as in the handleling of the figure, suggest an attribution to Cerquozzi's studio. It is fashinating to think that this picture could have been executed by Francesco del Conte, a little-studied pupil of Cerquozzi, who inherited all the quadri principiati (paintings that had already been begun) upon the death of the master.

    We are grateful to Dr. Laura Laureati for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.

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    Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St. Helens (1753-1839) and by descent to his nephew Sir Henry FitzHerbert, 3rd Bt. (1783-1858).


    A Catalogue of some of the Pictures at Tissington Hall the seat of Sir William FitzHerbert Baronet, 1859, 'Front Drawing Room - 5 A Fruit Girl Sitting.- Michael Angelo di Campidoglio.'
    Catalogue of Pictures and Curios at Tissington Hall, 1887, by Ida, daughter of Sir William FitzHerbert, 4th Bt., as 'Fruit Girl sitting ... painter Michael Angelo di Campidoglio Left by Lord St. Helens to Sir Henry FitzHerbert 3rd Bt.'
    Nora FitzHerbert, Tissington Hall - Pictures, 1938, 'No. 89. Dining Room'