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Lot 42Francesco Fieravino, called Il Maltese
Fl. Rome 1640
Still Life with an Overturned Urn, Flowers and a Skull Resting on a Book
Oil on canvas
45 x 60 inches (114.3 x 152.4 cm)

Born on the island of Malta, Francesco Fieravino traveled to Rome sometime during the 1630s. Although it is not known with whom he studied, by the 1640s he had become famous for his large still lifes contrasting the textures of sumptuous objects such as fine metalwork, musical instruments, tapestries, embroidered silk, fruit and flowers. Executed in an emphatic palette of high-keyed colors such as red, bright orange and amber contrasted with cool grays and silvers and cloaked in shadow, these works clearly owe much to the still lifes of Caravaggio and his followers. As in many contemporary seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish still lifes, underlying the opulence of the objects depicted is a suggestion of the impermanence of worldly life, including even the intellectual and spiritual pleasures of art, learning, and religious fervor. Here, the open book (an emblem of the passage of life), with a skull and cardinal's hat lying on it, along with the lavish bouquet of flowers in an overturned vase, are suggestions of just this kind.
Estimate $30,000-50,000

Frame rubbing, with particular abrasion along lower left edge and at upper right in the flowers. Lined. Visible stretcher marks, particularly along the upper edge. Heavy craquelure throughout. Scattered inpainting in the folds of the curtain at upper and lower left. Also a 1'' area in curtain at center. Condition commensurate with age.

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