Michele Pace del Campidoglio (?Rome ?1610-?1670)
Michele Pace del Campidoglio (?Rome ?1610-?1670)
Michele Pace del Campidoglio (?Rome ?1610-?1670)
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Michele Pace del Campidoglio (?Rome ?1610-?1670)

Melons, peaches and roses in a landscape; and Melons, and other fruit in a landscape, figures on horseback beyond

Details
Michele Pace del Campidoglio (?Rome ?1610-?1670)
Melons, peaches and roses in a landscape; and Melons, and other fruit in a landscape, figures on horseback beyond
oil on canvas
33 ½ x 42 7/8 in. (85.1 x 109 cm.)
(2)a pair
Provenance
Probably acquired in Italy in 1700-02 by Martin Bowes, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk; and by descent to
Anne, wife of Philip Bowes Broke (d.1801) of Broke Hall, Nacton, Suffolk; and by inheritance to
Sir George Broke-Middleton, 3rd Bt. (1812-87), Broke Hall and Shrubland Park, Suffolk; and by inheritance to
Jane Anne Acton Vere Broke and James St. Vincent Saumarez, 4th Baron de Saumarez (1843-1937); and thence by descent.
Property of De Saumarez Family, removed from Shrubland Park; Sotheby's, London, 6 July 2006, lot 251.
Literature
Inventory and Appraisement of the...Paintings & Prints..of Philip Bowes Broke Esqr deceased of Nacton in Suffolk taken September 1801, under Paintings Landcape..no.11. M.A. Campidoglio and No. 12 Ditto;
Inventory of Pictures. Broke Hall, Nacton, May 1875, Ground Floor, Dining Room, North Side, nos. 3 and 4, 'Campidoglio - Fruit piece' ;
Broke Hall, Nacton, Suffolk. Inventory of Household Furniture..., December 1896, p. 11, among oil paintings in the Dining Room, 'Fruit and flowers, 32 by 42 inches x 2';
Michael S. Smith, Houses, New York, 2008, pp. 45-6, 135 & 143.

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Lot Essay

Michele Pace del Campidoglio was one of the foremost still life painters in Rome in the seventeenth century. At that time, painters of natura morta were a rare inclusion in artists' biographies and, consequently, comparatively little is known of his life. His first recorded commission was in 1654 for Marcantonio Colonna, and the Colonna inventories show that a further seven pictures were subsequently commissioned for the family collections. He also benefited from frequent employment from Cardinal Flavio Chigi, the nephew of the incumbent Chigi Pope Alessandro VII. Notwithstanding his success with the Papal Curia and the noble families of Rome, it was only after his premature death in 1669 that his national and international reputation began to flourish. His works became highly sought after in England during the eighteenth century, and indeed, Abbot Luigi Lanzi described the artist as ‘eccelente nei frutti e quasi Raffaele di tali pitture’ (see L. Lanzi, Storia pittorica dell'Italia: Dal risorgimento delle Belle Arti fin presso al fine del XVIII secolo, Florence, 1834, II, p. 52).
Whilst it is difficult to establish a chronology for an oeuvre that contains no known signed or dated works, the fluidity and expressive quality of the present pair of still lifes suggests that it is an example of his later period when considered alongside the greater part of his work. The animated lizard and bamboo cane are characteristic motifs of the artist, with the large watermelon and plunged knife recurring, for example, in his Still life with fruit and a boy startled by a monkey, sold in these Rooms on 10 December 2011, lot 86 (and reproduced in G. Bocchi and U. Bocchi, Pittori di Natura Morta a Roma, Viadana 2005, p. 417, fig. MPC.14).
We are grateful to Ludovica Trezzani and Alberto Crispo for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs.

A note on the provenance:

In the catalogue of Pictures in the collection of Sir George Broke-Middleton at Broke Hall, drawn up in 1855, an annotation makes note of the ‘Italian paintings largely collected by Mr. Martin Bowes of Bury St. Edmunds, in Italy in 1700'. This may refer to Martin Bowes, son and heir of Paul Bowes, who is recorded in Padua with Thomas Herne between 1701 and 1702 (cf. J. Ingamells, A Dictionary of British and Irish travellers in Italy 1701-1800, New Haven and London, 1991, p. 113). His daughter Anne married Philip Bowes Broke of Broke Hall in Suffolk, and both paintings are recorded in the latter's collection before his death in 1801, where they remained in the possession of his descendants until their sale in 2006 (see provenance).


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