Still life with fruits and birds



Rome, (1608 – documented until 1673) (1623 – still active in 1690)





Still life with grapes, apples, peaches, lemons and birds

Circa 1640 - 1645




Oil on canvas



Dimensions without frame : 39 3/8 x 29 ½ in.



Brothers Giovanni and Niccolo Stanchi are active in Rome in the 17th century as painters of still life. If Giovanni distinguishes himself by a more Flemish style, this aspect doesn’t appear in the still life which we present here, referring to a date of the full maturity of his activity around 1640-1645. Our painting shows a beautiful exercise of collaboration between Giovanni et Niccolo. Indeed, from the 1640s, the two brothers work together and it is impossible to distinguish both hands.


Our work, on several vertical planes, appears as a real curtain of fruits, spread out in the height by stone entablatures, in a wonderful color gradation, from the coldest in the bottom to the warms in a perfect balance between them. On the left, the bright landscape background introduces an atmosphere of daylight which brings a shining light on the fruits.


The painting offers a real « botanical portrait » that enters in the history of the old grape varieties, probably disappeared and replaced by others today. It is the one of the most harvested fruits in the world with apples that it shares the space of the luxuriant basket.


Our composition refers especially to two other exceptional compositions by Stanchi’s brothers (both in private collections) with which it has in common the same layout, the grapes taking up splendidly the upper part of the painting.

Our two artists, forgotten for centuries, benefit today from an important monographic study by Maria Silvia Proni (2005), explaining the variety of their compositions which could include figures in scenes as well as inside garlands, vary fruits according to their sponsors. Their artistic career takes place in the particularly rich and productive context of the still life in Rome in the 17th century where Italian artists and foreign artists passing through the Eternal City competed by means of exuberant compositions with fruits and flowers.