Artist Anne McGurk has recently been posting some paintings of apples by other artists on Facebook. In her sequence I was particularly struck by the similarity between Zubaran and Raphael Peale. Not only do they line up the composition in a frontal manner, but the surface of the paintings seem remarkably alike. Although there is no evidence that Peale saw the work of Zubaran, his style may have been influenced by Spanish still life paintings he saw on his trip to Mexico and by the two works by Juan Sanchez Cotan, exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1816. [Wikipedia]
Raphaelle Peale (sometimes spelled Raphael Peale) (February 17, 1774 – March 4, 1825) is considered the first professional American painter of still-life.
From 1810, Peale concentrated on still-life painting almost exclusively, becoming America’s first professional still-life painter, and he exhibited frequently at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and elsewhere, especially from 1814–18. By 1813, he was unable to walk without crutches. After the downturn in his health, in an era when most artists considered still life a subject worthy only of amateurs, he devoted himself almost exclusively to still life painting. It is for these works he is best known. His work was on frequent exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1814 and 1818. After reportedly indulging in a night of heavy drinking, his health destroyed, he died on March 4, 1825 at age 51 at his home in Philadelphia.
Alfred Frankenstein has called Raphaelle Peale “the first really distinguished still-life specialist to emerge in this country, and he is one of the four major still-life painters of the nineteenth century in the United States.” ] Most of Peale’s paintings are small in scale, and depict a few objects—usually foodstuffs—arranged on a tabletop before a darkened background. [Wikipedia]
Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), was born in Fuente de Cantos (Estremadura). His professional training he received in Seville in 1616/17 in the workshop of Pedro Diaz da Villanueva. Then he settled near his birthplace to paint a large number of religious pictures for the monasteries and churches.
Towards 1630 he was appointed painter to Philip IV, and there is a story that on one occasion the sovereign laid his hand on the artist’s shoulder, saying “Painter to the king, king of painters.” After 1640 his austere, harsh, hard edged style was unfavorably compared to the sentimental religiosity of Murillo and Zurbarán’s reputation declined. It was only in 1658, late in Zurbarán’s life that he moved to Madrid in search of work and renewed his contact with Velázquez. Zurbarán died in poverty and obscurity.
Here is a link to the restoration of one of Zubaran’s painting at the Norton Simon Museum: http://www.nortonsimon.org/the-restoration/Medium
Books of interest: