RECCO, Giuseppe
(b. 1634, Napoli, d. 1695, Alicante)


Italian painter, part of a family of still-life painters, son of Giacomo Recco. He was the most celebrated Neapolitan still-life painter of his day. He began in the tradition of his father and (probable) uncle Giovan Battista Recco, painting naturalistic arrangements of flowers, fish, game and kitchen scenes. There are many signed and dated works which chart the development of his style. The Bodegón with a Negro and Musical Instruments (1659; private collection), the Bodegón with Fish (1664; private collection) and the Kitchen Interior (1675; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) are close to the art of Giovan Battista Recco.

The fish and kitchen still-lifes are typically Neapolitan, yet Giuseppe's art is distinguished by the intensity with which he observes light and surface texture and by the clarity of the composition, based on a careful balance of horizontals and verticals. He moved toward a more Baroque and decorative style, and the unfinished Still-Life with Fruit, Flowers and Birds (1672) and the Still-Life with Fruit and Flowers (c. 1670; both Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Naples) are mature, more theatrical works that suggest the influence of Abraham Breughel and Giuseppe Battista Ruoppolo.

Giuseppe specialized in pictures of fish, painted in an impressively grand style, but more austere than those of Ruoppolo, with whom he ranks as the most distinguished Italian still-life painter of his period. He may have visited Lombardy and may have been influenced by Baschenis, but his works are all in the Spanish realist tradition of the Bodegón painting - some have been attributed to Velázquez - which goes back to Caravaggio.

His daughter, Elena Recco, was also a still-life painter. He died in Spain.