December 30, 2012

Happy New Year! With the Abundance of Spanish Still Life


Luis Melendez, Fruit in a Landscape, 1771; oil on canvas, 25 x 33 in. 


In thinking of New Year's wishes to you, dear readers, what could be better to illustrate them than with the richness of Spanish still life painting? From a watermelon bursting with juicy sweetness, pink and crisp....


Juan Fernandez, el Labrador, Vase of Flowers, 1636; oil on panel, 16 1/8 in. diameter


...to a full round vase of spring flowers, petals trembling with life and promise...


Francisco de Burgos Mantilla, Still Life with Dried Fruit, 1631; oil on canvas, 11 7/16 x 23 3/16 in. 


...to paper cornucopias of dried fruits and nuts, small pleasures that will keep through the year; all these sensuous things, of taste and sight and smell, can be symbolic of a year to come full of joy and of beauty.


Juan Sanchez Cotan, Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, ca. 1603; oil on canvas, 27 1/4 x 33 1/2 in. 


And in this more restrained and elegant arrangement, I think of calm and peace, and wish you both.


Francisco de Zurbaran, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose, 1633; oil on canvas, 24 1/2 x 43 1/8 in. (see this in high resolution on the Norton Simon museum website.)


This remarkable Zurbaran is an image of fruitfulness, with grace and balance; the bitter citrus with the sweet orange blossoms and with the rose, (and I know how many of you love your coffee!) Light washes over all, as forms emerge from darkness. May you all be similarly illumined. Happy New Year!

10 comments:

  1. Happy New Year to you, Altoon, and all the other dear readers. And ooh, the fruit and nuts in paper cones--beautiful and unusual. May 2013 be beautiful and unusual and amazing for all of us.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. I hope your wish comes true.

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  2. Yes, a happy new year to all

    each painting was better than the one before it

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the paintings, Sam; I love them all.

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  3. The watermelon is a fitting greeting for those of us that live around here. Our town has a weird tradition of dropping watermelons then having fireworks on NY Eve. This stems from the Watermelon Festival that occurs here during summer. I live in a rural community. Watermelons is a big cash crop. I enjoyed the paintings. I especially enjoy your blog. Many happy returns to you. Have a Happy Healthy New Year.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. It's fun to know about the customs of your area. The watermelon festival must be great fun; around here we have strawberry festivals in early summer.

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  4. Dear Altoon, I look forward to your delivery each day and am always enriched by the words and the art. Thank you so much for sharing and enhancing our lives!
    ps....not computer savvy and can't figure out how to put my name- hence the anonymous....I'm Malinda

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    1. hi Malinda, I'm so glad you enjoy these blog posts; it's nice to know I have appreciative readers out there.

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  5. Generous post from you, as always, Altoon: Thanks & Happy New Year! Especially enjoyed the Cotan and Zurburan (one of my favs) for the immense depth and humanity of their negative space.

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    1. Thank you, Julie. Those two are my faves also; I have a soft spot for Sanchez Cotan especially.

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