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Annotated works


(Santorcaz, Madrid, 1614-Madrid, 1676)

Small Basket of Flowers

Oil on canvas

84 x 105,5 cm


Baroque (17th Century)

N.° inv. DEP618

Deposited by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia after dation by BBV in 1997

ARELLANO, Juan de on Online collection

The fact that it was signed during the last years of the artist's life adds a special interest to this Small basket of Flowers. Juan de Arellano is the most important painter of vases in the Golden Age of Spanish art. His development—from his connections with the Flemish models employed by Daniel Seghers and Jan Brueghel de Velours to his derivations from the works by the Italian artist Mario Nuzzi, the "Mario dei Fiori" mentioned in Italian inventories—culminates in this basket produced at the end of his career. In this picture the wicker basket with openwork is placed on a stone plinth and is brimming over with the most varied of freshly cut flowers in apparent disorder; however the well-studied composition contrasts colours and shapes to produce a highly decorative effect. Insects, especially brightly coloured butterflies, flit around the basket or alight on the flowers or on the plinth, thereby contributing to the colourful ensemble. The flowers chosen on this occasion are those usually found in the artist's repertoire: white or pale pink roses, streaked tulips, blue and red anemones, yellow daffodils, blue hyacinths and a white iris or lily.

As to the fate of this picture, belonging to a type of creations usually conceived to be displayed in pairs or in groups of four, it was probably meant to decorate an area above an internal door or window in a palatial salon. However, the fact that the perspective of the composition is rather high, showing the surface of the plane on which the basket is depicted, could mean that it was designed to be hung at eye level.  [A.E.P.S.]

Selected bibliography:

William B. Jordan ; Peter Cherry. El bodegón español : de Velázquez a Goya. [Cat. exp.]. Madrid ; Londres : El Viso ; National Gallery Publications, 1995, p. 136.

Alfonso Emilio Pérez Sánchez. Juan de Arellano, 1614-1676 : últimos floreros. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederretako Museoa, 1997, pp. 35-36, n. º 1.

Alfonso Emilio Pérez Sánchez. Juan de Arellano : 1614-1676.  [Cat. exp.]. Madrid : Caja Madrid, 1998, pp. 110-111, 240-241, n. º 60.

Peter Cherry. Arte y naturaleza : el bodegón español en el siglo de oro. Madrid : Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispánico, 1999, p. 296.

El bodegón español : de Zurbarán a Picasso. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes = Bilboko Arte Ederretako Museoa ; Fundación Bilbao Bizkaia Kutxa, 1999, pp. 160-161, 290, n. º 31.

Calderón de la Barca y la España del Barroco. Madrid : Sociedad Estatal España Nuevo Milenio, 2000, pp. 226-227, n.º 4
Francisco Calvo Serraller; Peter Cherry. Spanish flower painting in the golden age. [Cat. exp.]. Madrid : Sociedad Estatal para Exposiciones Internacionales, 2002, p. 104, n.º 31.

Flores españolas del Siglo de Oro : la pintura de flores en la España del siglo XVII. [Cat. exp.]. Madrid : Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, 2002, pp. 136-137, n. º 33.

Bilbao a Genova : la cultura cambia le città. [Cat. exp.]. Milán : Skira, 2003, n.º 13.

Eddy Schavemaker. "Juan de Arellano, Still life of flowers in a basket" en One Hundred Master Paintings. Maastricht : Noortman Master Paintings, 2007, pp. 58-59, n.º 009.

Matthias Weniger. "Das Dresdener Blumenstilleben des Juan de Arellano" en KulturStiftung der LTM-PATRIMONIA, nº 332, 2008, p. 15, il. 8.

Barroco exuberante : de Catelan a Zurbarán : manifiestos de la precariedad vital. [Cat. exp.]. Bilbao ; Zürich : Guggenheim Bilbao ; Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft = Kunsthaus Zürich, 2013, p. 165.

Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao : guía. Bilbao : Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao = Bilboko Arte Ederretako Museoa, 2011 (1ª ed. 2006; ed. inglés; ed. francés; ed. euskera), p. 67, n.º 47, ad vocem.

Annotated works