CACCIA, Orsola Maddalena
(b. 1596, Moncalvo, d. 1676, Moncalvo)


c. 1650
Oil on canvas, 37 x 99 cm
Private collection

Caccia is attributed to having painted the first recorded Italian flower paintings. Her still-lifes are delicately balanced and each element in the composition is carefully placed. The paintings have a strong sense of verticality, with the symmetrical stalks of flowers reaching upward into the composition. At the bottom of the field, Orsola places pieces of fruit and an animal (usually a bird or an insect) to further enliven the image.

The present still-life depicts flowers, fruit, mushroom, goldfinch, and hoopoe. It stands out for its depiction of unusual species of plants and animals, and for the rhythmic composition. The still-life seems to be laid out on a window sill set in the wall of a room that opens onto a view of the sky. The unusual horizontal format of the painting suggests that it was set above a door or inserted in the wooden paneling of a wall.