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Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617-1670/80 Rome or Naples)
PROPERTY FROM THE LODI COLLECTION
Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617-1670/80 Rome or Naples)

Lilacs, roses, irises and other flowers on a stone ground with a glass vase and a peacock butterfly

Details
Paolo Porpora (Naples 1617-1670/80 Rome or Naples)
Lilacs, roses, irises and other flowers on a stone ground with a glass vase and a peacock butterfly
oil on panel, marouflaged
13¼ x 21½ in. (33.7 x 54.5 cm.)
Literature
Italian still life painting, from The Silvano Lodi collection, exhibition catalogue, Jerusalem, 1994.
Italian still life painting, from The Silvano Lodi collection, exhibition catalogue, Tokyo, 2001, p. 64, no. 26.
S. Dathe, Natura morta italiana: Italienische stilleben aus vier Jahrhunderten, sammlung Silvano Lodi, exhibition catalogue, Ravensburg, 2003, p. 45.
Exhibited
Jerusalem, The Israel Museum of Art, Italian still life painting, from The Silvano Lodi collection, June 1994.
Tokyo, Seiji Togo Memorial Museum of Art, Italian still life painting, from The Silvano Lodi collection, 28 April-26 May 2001, no. 26; and on tour in Japan.
Ravensburg, Schloss Achberg, Natura morta italiana: Italienische stilleben aus vier Jahrhunderten, sammlung Silvano Lodi, 11 April-12 October, 2003.

Lot Essay

Paolo Porpora is associated with Giacomo Recco in a document of 1632 and followed Recco in becoming a specialist in still lifes and one of the founders of the Neapolitan school of still life painting. Porpora worked with Aniello Falcone and moved to Rome in the 1650s, where he is documented at the Accademia di San Luca between 1656 and 1658. There he came into contact with Northern still life painters, most notably Otto Marseus van Schrieck and Mattias Withoos, who were in Rome between 1652 and 1656. Their influence was decisive and Porpora painted a number of nocturnal scenes of the forest floor with mushrooms, lizards, snakes and tortoises that betray a knowledge of prototypes by van Schrieck. Paintings such as the Woodland scenes in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte exemplify this genre. At the same time, Porpora painted floral still lifes whose baroque compositions, brilliant palette and flamboyant brushwork suggest a debt to Abraham Brueghel (who was active in Naples) and Mario dei Fiori. In 1666 he became a member of the 'Virtuoso al Pantheon'. Among Porpora's patrons was the Chigi family in Rome; however, it is interesting to see from inventories of collections such as that of Ruffo that Porpora continued to send paintings to Naples even after his move to Rome.

As with the Fruit and flowers in the Galleria Nazionale del Capodimonte, Naples, the vigorously painted flowers in this work are strewn over a stone ground, with a peacock butterfly hovering above the brilliant blue iris on the left. Porpora painted large floral still lifes, often garlands, but the present work is unusual for its intimate scale and the fact that it is painted on panel. This painting may also be compared to the upright Flowers and fruit with a crystal vase also in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte. Porpora seems to have liked the device of contrasting the brilliance of the sparkling crystal with the lush exuberance of the flowers. The baroque decoration of the floral elements, already a long way away from the manner of his teacher, Giacomo Recco, suggests a date similar to that of the two Capodimonte paintings, in the early 1650s shortly after Porpora's arrival in Rome.

The fact that this work, unusually for Porpora, is painted on a panel support suggests the possibility that it originally formed part of a decorative ensemble or piece of furniture.

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