Giuseppe Recco was the most celebrated Neapolitan still-life painter of his generation. He was born into a distinguished dynasty of still-life painters that spanned the whole of the 17th century. He is generally thought to be the son of Giacomo and the nephew of Giovan Battista Recco, although Luigi Salerno has argued that his father was more likely to be Guglielmo Recco, about whom very little is known (see L. Salerno, La natura morta in Italia, Milan, 1989, II, p. 903). If the family relationships are difficult to establish with certainty there is no doubt about their artistic affinities. The Reccos were celebrated for their naturalistic arrangements of fruit, flowers and fish, with Giuseppe considered by many as the most successful of this group. The breadth and diversity of his repertoire were unmatched in 17th century Naples.
One of the more unusual aspects of Giuseppe's work is his ability to assimilate compositional elements of Neapolitan still life with the Roman, Spanish and even Flemish traditions. The present work, is carefully constructed and beautifully executed. The combination of colourful flowers on the right, a plate of pastries and sweetmeats on the left and a drawn curtain behind is also seen in another imposing canvas, probably dating from the 1670s (see L. Salerno, La natura morta italiana 1560-1805, Rome, 1984, p. 218, no. 52.10, private collection).