Lot 44
  • 44

Juan de Arellano Santorcaz 1614 - 1676 Madrid

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  • Juan de Arellano
  • still life of roses, carnations, anemonies, syringa, peonies and hyacinths in a glass vase, upon a stone plinth
  • signed on the stone plinth lower centre: Juan, de, Arellano
  • oil on canvas, in a carved and gilt wood frame

Catalogue Note

A white rose (rosa x alba), yellow rose (rosa foetida), pink cabbage rose (rosa x centifolia), carnations (dianthus caryophillus), anemonies (anemoe coronaria), syringa (philadelphus coronarius), peonies (paeonia officinalis) and hyacinths (hyacinthus orientalis) make up this floral profusion by Juan de Arellano, Spain's pre-eminent flower painter of the 17th Century.

Arellano's high reputation was built on his ability to inflect his still lifes with a sense of life. This he achieves in the present work through a balanced but lively composition and colour scheme, lit from the left by a strong light that catches on the blooms, leaves and glass vase to define their form and lend a sense of three-dimensionality to the objects. The contrast of light is particularly heightened in this work and the artist has deliberately interspersed the primary colours and whites to animate the scene. Although not rigidly symmetrical, the arrangement of flowers is based upon a geometric triangle, with a white and yellow rose anchoring the centre of the composition, flanked by a drooping peonie and rose on either side, and a white, long-stemmed syringa drawing the eye to the pinnacle of the arrangement. This standard compositional type was often employed by the artist and can be found, for example, in his Still Life of Flowers in a Wicker Basket in a private collection, Barcelona (see Juan de Arellano, exhibition catalogue, FundaciĆ³n Caja Madrid, pp. 224-5, no. 52, reproduced p. 225), which also shares in common the drooping pink cabbage rose located in the lower left corner of the arrangement - a motif which frequently recurs in the artist's work.

The attribution to Juan de Arellano has been endorsed by Dr. Peter Cherry, who suggests a date of execution circa 1665-70. The handling can be compared, for example, to a still life by the artist, signed and dated 1668, in a private collection (op. cit., pp. 188-9, no. 34, reproduced p. 189).