Still life and Boselli

The still life becames very popular in the Emilia of the XVII century thanks to the growing request of an aristocratic commissioning interested in the rituals of hunting. Within the vast panorama of this artistic genre, which is stylistically different in the various European schools, can be appreciated the rustic compositions of vegetables and game by the painter Felice Boselli, perfectly adapted to decorate the dining rooms of the castles in the Duchy – the Rocca of the Sanvitale family in Fontanellato and the Meli Lupi in Soragna – by displaying the quality of the food served and the abundance of the land. The addition of human figures brings to mind similar subjects from the XVI century Flemish tradition, but also scenes of popular life so fashionable in the ambit of Milan and Lombardy at the end of the XVII century.

The eclectic language of Bartolomeo Arbotori appears more fragile: the congestion of overlapping objects and the paratactical ostentation of the foods displayed communicates a sense of horror vacui and sheer exhibitionism. The Emilian painter Cristoforo Munari, instead, while appreciating the truth of representation, does not sacrifice the harmony of the composition, accurately choosing his own repertory. Aiming at a refined and delicate decorative effect the painting attributed to the French Nicolas Baudesson, where the cut flowers are composed according to a free and loose scheme, the brush strokes are rapid and favour a noteworthy spatial and luminous involvement.