(b. 1620, Llerena, d. 1649, Sevilla)

Still-Life with Plate of Apples and Orange Blossom

c. 1640
Oil on canvas, 60 x 40 cm
Private collection

The authorship of this still-life painting remains uncertain. It has been considered a work by Francisco de Zurbarán. The almost geometrical roundness and sharply delineated contours of the apples are reminiscent of Zurbarán's treatment of the fruit in some of his still-lifes while the motif of fruit on a reflective silver or pewter plate appears in the paintings of both Zurbarán and his son Juan. The painting is also close in sensibility to the still lifes of Pedro de Camprobín. The elegant motif of the tall glass containing a single sprig of orange blossom is reminiscent of the small glass vessels with flowers that appear in the works of Camprobín. However, a number of stylistic features of the painting suggest that Juan de Zurbarán may be its author and it perhaps dates the from the early years of his short career, when an admiration for the style of his father prevailed.

The appeal of the painting lies in the exquisite simplicity of the artist's presentation of the modest subject matter, a plate of red and gold apples on a silver plate and a single flower in a glass. This is, however, an enhanced vision of the beauty of the natural motifs.