Although born in Hamburg, Berentz was one of a number of artists in the 17th century to make their careers in Rome. Shortly after his arrival in the Eternal City in 1680, Berentz became known to the Marchese Niccolò Maria Pallavicini who invited the artist to live in his palazzo. According to his biographer, Pascoli, Berentz collaborated with Carlo Maratta on a number of paintings when working for the Pallavicini family, including a large still life with figures, signed and dated 1696, now in the Galleria Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples (L. Pascoli, Vite, 1730-36, II, pp. 357-367).
As Luigi Salerno notes, unlike some other foreign artists working in Rome, such as Abraham Brueghel, Berentz maintained a sharpness and clarity of vision and an intensity of color in his paintings typified by the northern artists (L. Salerno, La Natura Morta in Italia, 1984, p. 260). Berentz had a 'lucid and crystalline vision and a chromatic intensity that reaches its utmost excitement in shrill and vivid color tones....[he is] notable for a light, lively, gay, and lucid coloring which is already open to the Rococo, and he had an important part in the formation of Munari' (ibid.).
The compositional element of peaches on a pewter plate held great appeal to Berentz. He employed it in a much larger upright painting now in the collection of Silvano Lodi, Lugano, and again in a version of the present work offered with its companion at Sotheby's, New York, 17 January 1992, lot 48.