Giovanna Garzoni

In a Facebook posting on Animals in Art through History this morning, a charming still life from about 400 years ago by Giovanna Garzoni, with food, flowers, and an insect:

(#1) Plate of Asparagus with Carnations and a Grasshopper, undated, gouache on vellum (in a private collection in Italy)

On the artist, from Wikipedia:

Giovanna Garzoni (1600–1670) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. She began her career painting religious, mythological, and allegorical subjects but gained fame for her botanical subjects painted in tempera and watercolour. Her works were praised for their precision and balance and for the exactitude of the objects depicted.

New to me, and a delightful find. Three more examples from a large body of work:

Another insect.

(#2) Plate of Cherries with Roses and a Carpenter Bee, tempera and watercolor on vellum (Villa Poggio a Caiano, Italy)

More food.

(#3) Plate with White Beans was one of the several works of art commissioned by the Medici family. The still life, painted sometime between 1650-1662, is a naturalistic study of beans in various stages of ripeness and decay (in the collection of the Galleria Palatina in Florence)

Flowers and fruit.

(#4) Still Life with a Basket of Fruit, a Vase with Carnations and Shells on a Table: This gouache on vellum piece is one of the twenty still-life miniatures that Garzoni produced for the Medici family from the years 1650–1662. The piece depicts carnations, conch shells, as well as a basket of fruit (now in the Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay Collection in Washington, DC)

The fruits in her paintings include lots of figs, artichokes, cherries, citrons, and melons.  Among the occasional animal visitors in her paintings are a hedgehog, some birds, and a great many insects.

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