Giuseppe was the son of the Neapolitan painter Giacomo Recco, the first in a dynasty of artists who specialised exclusively in still life painting. He began in the tradition of his father and (probable) uncle, Giovan Battista, executing naturalistic arrangements of flowers, fish, game and kitchen scenes. Later he moved towards a more Baroque and decorative style that suggests the influence of Abraham Brueghel and Giuseppe Battista Ruoppolo.
In the present composition Recco combines archaic elements such as the two dimensional rendering of the flowers, reminiscent of Giacomo Recco and of the Master of the Grotesque Vases, and Baroque formal solutions such as the octagonal table and the elaborate drapery. Comparables works by the artist are the Allegory of the Five Senses (private collection, illustrated, in La natura morta in Italia, Milan, 1989, vol. II, p. 908, no. 1094) and the Still-life with flowers, fruit and cakes (with Paolo Sapori, Spoleto, op. cit., p. 911, no. 1100). The pug resting on the cushion is somehow a more northern touch: Bernardo de Dominici, in his Vite de' pittori, scultori ed architetti napoletani, suggests that Recco spent his youth in Lombardy and could have trained with artists such as Evaristo Baschenis and Bartolomeo Bettera.
We are grateful to Professor Riccardo Lattuada for confirming the attribution to Giuseppe Recco on the basis of a color transparency (verbal communication, 5 November 2004). We are also grateful to Professor Nicola Spinosa for confirming the attribution to Giuseppe Recco after inspecting the original (verbal communication, 10 November 2004).