Vase of Flowers Giacomo Recco (Napoli, 1603-1653) Still Life
Still Life, Glass Decanter with Flowers, Giacomo Recco (1603-1653).
This refined canvas depicts a glass jug full of flowers resting on a stone plinth.
The rigorous simplicity of this painting takes us to the first half of the 17th century and to the name of Giacomo Recco
Giacomo Recco is considered by critics among the initiators of still life in Naples and the founder of a dynasty of painters specializing in still life, still sensitive to Mannerist taste and Flemish precedents, but able to warm and animate his compositions, with an imaginative “Neapolitan” style.
It is important to consider that in recent years, further confirming the confusion that reigns in the attributionist field, numerous works have been auctioned, more or less forcibly assigned to Giacomo Recco, who has thus become, from a painter without paintings, an artist of reference for a crowd of anonymous authors of the most varied paintings of flowers, in whose coveted container of florist the most disparate canvases enter and exit. From the canvases attributed to Giacomo Recco by the most accredited scholars comes not only an artist of great skill and profound culture, but also an expert in heraldry and expert in symbolic meanings, as well as a profound connoisseur of Flemish figurative experiences. Moreover, he was probably in the position of an established painter, able to be quoted in the circle that counts, so as to receive commissions from important cardinals and noble families.
The works grouped under the name of Giacomo Recco present a series of very particular distinctive characters that are the expression of an artistic personality still attracted by the sixteenth-century repertoire little or nothing influenced by the results of the luminist investigations and at the same time strongly influenced by affectation and from the artificiality of Flemish flourishing.
In Recco’s painting, the vase becomes the focal point of the composition and has the same dignity with the flowers, always arranged symmetrically and abnormally illuminated, even though they are minutely defined in their optical truth.
The flowers are all colorful, expressing the early blooming of spring: daffodils, hyacinths, calendula, anemones, tulips. They are detached from each other with a few downward-facing corollas and are studied separately even when they overlap, stacking against the dark background. The somewhat calligraphic execution betrays an ancient air that reminds us of earlier examples.
The treatment of light is classic of a protocaravaggesco with careful attention to the exaltation of the chromatic values of the flowers, which are arranged schematically and materialize towards the viewer of the painting.
Giacomo Recco’s artistic and cultural matrices are difficult to define, even if one has to consider the presence in Naples around 1590 of Jan Brueghel and the persistence in the city, as pointed out by Tecce, of a seasoned handful of late mannerists, active until the middle of the third decade of the 17th century. A considerable influence undoubtedly comes from the growing fame for Europe of the Nordic florists, linked to a still tasteful decoratism of the sixteenth century, and quite fasts from the lesson of Caravagic luminism which was beginning to shape genre painting in Rome. . The pictorial production which comes closest to the tests of Ours is that of Osias Beert the Elder, as repeatedly pointed out in his essays Veca. The fame of Giacomo Recco is linked to his skill as a flourish, almost a specialist in the specialty.
The painting is similar to the oldest paintings by Recco, the sobriety, the symmetry, the centrality of these paintings. We can compare it with the canvas “Still life with vase of flowers” from 1626, Rivet collection in Paris, catalog La natura morta italiana, 1964, pag. 39.
The painting has a 17th century cassetta frame.
It underwent a conservative restoration in a specialized laboratory with final cleaning and varnish.
Canvas cm 79 x 64
Frame cm 100 x 85