BARBARI, Jacopo de'
(b. ca. 1445, Venezia, d. 1516, Bruxelles)

Still-Life with Partridge and Gauntlet

Wood, 52 x 42,5 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Barbari was the first Italian Renaissance artist of note to travel to the German and Netherlandish courts. He probably received training with Alvise Vivarini in Venice in the 1490s. His best-known painting is the Still Life with a Dead Partridge of 1504, a trompe l'oeil probably made for one of the palaces of the Saxon dukes.

This Still-Life with Partridge, Gauntlet and Bolt of a Crossbow is the earliest independent still-life in the European painting. It is one of those paintings that mislead the unprepared viewer by displaying the wall on which these objects have been hung. It is likely that the painting was cleverly integrated into the room of a hunting lodge where it was intended to provide amusement to the hunting party. Nowadays we would hardly be deceived by such a painting technique. At the time, however, it was radically new and people's habits of perception had been formed by less illusionist paintings. Barbari's still-life is akin to extremely precise studies of nature by contemporary German artists such as Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder. It has therefore been suggested that the Italian artist was influenced by Dürer.