Giuseppe Recco was born into the dynasty of still-life painters active in Naples throughout the seventeenth century. He was thought to be the son of Giacomo and the nephew of Giovan Battista Recco, but Salerno points out (L. Salerno, La natura morta in Italia, Milan, 1989, II, p. 903) that his father was probably Guglielmo Recco, about whom very little is known. If the details of the family connection between these artists are vague, the artistic ties are apparent: the Reccos are known for their naturalistic arrangements of fruit, flowers, and fish, and Giuseppe is considered by many to be the most successful painter of this group. The breadth and diversity of his repertoire have led many to distinguish him as the most important Neapolitan still life painter of the seventeenth century.
Giuseppe incorporates compositional elements made popular by Giovan Battista and Giacomo Recco while assimilating technical aspects of Roman, Spanish, and Flemish still life painting. His still lifes also incorporate specific references from his contemporaries in Naples. Dr. John Spike notes the similarities between the present painting and Luca Forte's large still life, sold at Christie's, London, 28 April 2006, lot 113. Spike points out that the present painting 'shows Recco at his most fine'. We are grateful to Dr. John Spike for confirming the attribution to Giuseppe Recco on the basis of a transparency (written communication, 12 August 2006).