(b. 1601, Sant'Arcangelo di Romagna, d. 1682, Wien)
Flowers in a Flaskc. 1645
Oil on canvas
Pinacoteca Civica, Forli
This is one of the most fascinating masterpieces of Italian still life. The Forli painting is of pivotal importance in gaining an understanding of Cagnacci's genre work. It is clear that the canvas reveals true lyrical inspiration and is not merely a piece of clever painting. Our admiration for the impressive virtuoso skill in capturing the subject is soon replaced by a poetic feel for a fairly cheap bunch of flowers that is straining toward the light. The flowers seem to be stretching upwards, as if trying to escape the humiliation of being trapped in the tacky straw-covered flask.