(b. ca. 1663, Napoli, d. 1721, Napoli)

Decorative Still-Life

c. 1690
Oil on canvas, 206 x 170 cm
Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna

The main preoccupation of the Neapolitan still-life painters of the second half of the seventeenth century was not to create a perfect and deceptive representation of textures and surfaces, which was the aim of the northern Italian painters, or to an even greater extent, the Dutch masters of still-life. The Neapolitan artists focused on decorative effect expressed through pictorial composition. This intention is reflected in a virtuoso style of painting that seeks to be recognised and esteemed as such.

In this painting Malinconico evokes the sensual delights exclusively through the application of paint and the use of colour. Materials and their imitation in paint did not really interest Neapolitan artists at the end of the seventeenth century. Colour as matter became the prime concern. The still-life's only role is now decoration.

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