(documented 1628-1631 in Toledo)

Still Life with Cardoon, Francolin, Grapes and Irises

Oil on canvas, 71 x 92 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This painting derives from a composition by Juan Sánchez Cotán (Still Life with Cardoon and Francolin, Princeton, Piasecka Johnson Collection) who was one of the originators of still-life painting in Spain. Although his powerful example continued to exercise its influence upon still-life painters in Toledo and Madrid during the first third of the 17th century, few artists responded in such a literal manner as Ramírez did on this occasion. The lateral elements of the painting are copied from Sánchez Cotán's prototype, while the central motifs appear to have been added by Ramírez. Sánchez Cotán's original painting does not contain the irises and grapes that are present in this still life. Ramírez appears to have taken Sánchez Cotán's painting as his model, to have elaborated on it by inserting new elements into the composition and to have signed it as his own invention. By filling the magical void in the prototype, Ramírez shows himself to have been the more prosaic master.