ARELLANO, Juan de
(b. 1614, Santorcaz, d. 1676, Madrid)
Vase of Flowers1668
Oil on canvas, 83 x 62,5 cm
In this painting, a bulbous glass vase of flowers stands on a bare rock outcrop, a feature that links the bouquet with the outdoors, despite the fact that it is viewed against a nondescript background of a light, neutral colour.
Arellano's flower pieces are carefully orchestrated in terms of colour. His arrangements are usually composed of flowers in the primary colours - red, yellow and blue - with white blooms. The artist also habitually painted with high quality pigments and achieved saturated hues of considerable intensity, which gave his paintings great impact and a high degree of legibility when they shared the wall with other works in the richly decorated interiors of contemporary collectors. Unusually among Spanish flower painters, he frequently employed the expensive mineral pigment lapis lazuli in his blue flowers.
Although Arellano absorbed some of the lessons of Italian and indeed Flemish flower painting, this mature work demonstrates that he developed a style that was entirely his own. The existence of a simplified replica of this painting (Madrid, Caja Madrid) demonstrates that the painter repeated successful compositions for the wide market to which his art appealed.