BARRERA, Francisco
(b. 1595, Madrid, d. 1658, Madrid)

The Month of May

Oil on canvas, 102 x 155 cm
Slovenská Národná Galéria, Bratislava

This painting is one of a series of large-scale still-lifes of the twelve months. These comprise a wide range of foodstuffs associated with the different months arranged on a series of ledges, accompanied by a landscape vignette, complete with small figures engaged in activities appropriate for the time of year. The series is now dispersed, over half of the pictures are only known.

A flower piece is the most conspicuous element in the painting of The Month of May, the season of flowers. The copious arrangement of blooms in a glass vase is placed on a red damask tablecloth, between two splendid decorative wickerwork baskets filled with fruit and vegetables. At the left of the painting, there are hunting dogs and a gun, a caged bird and various foodstuffs associated with this time of year on a shelf. The painting has a particularly cheering, sunny mood that is entirely appropriate to this season of natural regeneration.