From the estate of Rodriguez y Jimenez, Madrid 1950s
Private Collection, Madrid
Christie’s Madrid, Spanish Sale, October 4th 2006, Lot 69
Bergstrom ‘Maestros Españoles de Bodegones y Floreros del Siglo XVII’ Instituto Iberico Americano Gotemburgo, Madrid 1970 Plate no 31.
We are grateful to Peter Cherry for confirming the attribution on first hand inspection.
The most prominent still life painter active in Seville in the seventeenth century, Pedro de Camprobín Passano was trained in Toledo between 1619 and 1624 under Luís Tristán. By 1628, he is recorded in Seville, where he married the daughter of the artist Antonio de Arnos, and in 1630 became a member of the Seville painters' guild. In 1660, along with Murillo, Valdés Leal and Herrera the Younger, Camprobín became a founder member of the Seville Academy.
Fully signed paintings by Camprobín are rare and this still life composition is an unusual one in his oeuvre. It is interesting to note that each individual element was used separately a number of times by Camprobín and he brings them together here to create a unique and eye catching still life.
Evidently familiar with the work of the Sevillian artist Juan, son of Francisco de Zurbarán, his earlier work shows some influence of those two artists. In the 1650s, he developed a more personal style, using fluent brushstrokes, and tending towards understated compositions, in contrast to the often large and usually heavily-laden kitchen still lifes being produced in Madrid at that time.
The decade of the 1660s was the summit of Camprobín's career. The still lifes that he produced during that period 'are unlike any others painted in Spain, and they establish Camprobín as one of the most distinctive masters of still-life painting in Spain' (Jordan and Cherry, op. cit., p. 111). In these years, the artist began to change his technique, 'relying to a much greater extent on the use of glazing to achieve delicacy in modelling' (ibid., p. 114). As Dr. William Jordan and Cherry point out, this has led to the fragile state of much of his extant oeuvre, hence the present painting could be numbered as one of the most well preserved of his works.
It is also evident from the painting how influential contemporary Spanish still life painters had been on him .The painting shows elements of Juan van der Hamen in the overall composition, Juan de Zurbaran in the little plate of apricots and Tomas Yepes in the basket of flowers. He has, however, painted the picture in his own unique style exemplified by a certain softness of brushstroke and delicate colouring particularly in the treatment of the flowers.
Similarities can be drawn between this still life and the pair of Flowers in Baskets in a Private Collection (See P. Cherry , ‘ Arte y Naturaleza. El Bodegon Español en el siglo de Oro’, Fundacion de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispanico, Madrid 1999, plate XCII).