Bodycolor on vellum, laid on board
Vellum size: 9 3/4” x 13 7/8”; frame size: 15 1/2” x 19 1/8”
Provenance: (Possibly) Ferdinando II de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, commissioned from the artist by 1662
This Plate of figs belongs to the important suite of more than twenty fruitpieces that Giovanna Garzoni painted for Ferdinando II, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1621-1670). On 28 October 1662, Garzoni wrote to the Grand Duke to thank him for his generous compensation for her ‘miniature de frutti’, adding that she was enclosing ‘another Tazza (dish) to add to the twenty others’. The parchment miniatures are cited in the 1692 inventory of the Villa Poggio Imperiale in Florence, the favorite residence of the Grand Duchess Vittoria. In the eighteenth century, the series was transferred with the Galleria Palatina to the city of Florence and today is exhibited at the Palazzo Pitti. This delightful Plate of figs is one of only six still lifes from the original suite that are today in private hands.
The rediscovery of Giovanna Garzoni can be traced back to the great exhibition of Italian still life paintings held in Naples, Rotterdam and Zurich in 1964. Since that date, the research of many scholars has uncovered the well-documented life of an outstanding woman artist whose works were prized at the courts of Florence, Naples, Rome, Turin, and beyond the Alps to France. Born to a modest family of Venetians temporarily resident in Ascoli Piceno, Garzoni maintained her independence, moving restlessly between farflung cities until finally settling in 1651 in Rome, where, rich and famous, she lived out her long life. She was greatly attached to the activities of the Accademia di San Luca to which she bequeathed her estate. In gratitude, the academicians erected a commemorative monument with her portrait in their church of SS. Luca e Martina.
Offered at $1,400,000