Colnaghi Foundation Journal 01 - Page 43



42
ANDRÉS DE LEITO / Vanitas
ANDRÉS DE LEITO / Vanitas
Fig. 5 / Andrés De Leito,
Kitchen Still Life with Meat,
oil on canvas, 104 x 164 cm,
Barcelona, Amatller
Collection of Hispanic Art.
Fig. 6 / Andrés De Leito,
Kitchen Still Life with Fish,
signed, oil on canvas, 104 x
164 cm, Barcelona, Amatller
Collection of Hispanic Art.
Fig. 4 / Pieter Aersten,
Vanitas Still Life, 1552, oil
on wood, 61.5 x 101 cm,
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches
Museum.
Beuckelaer and Aertsen (fig. 4), both in general terms
and in the artist’s direct use of prints after such works.
The pendant pictures in the Amatller Collection of
Hispanic Art in Barcelona, Kitchen Still Life with Meat and
Kitchen Still Life with Fish (figs. 5 & 6)(both 104 x 164 cm),
are signed, making them key works for establishing
De Leito’s style and the type of visual resources he
deployed. The two would originally have formed a
pair of complementary scenes. Peter Cherry suggested
that the scenes should be read from left to right, with
the man holding a haunch of meat on the left, looking
amorously at the girl engaged in cleaning fish in the
scene on the right. As such, the images probably
symbolize the opposition between Carnival and Lent,
personified in the two figures. A large number of
foodstuffs and objects fill the two scenes. In the first still
life, one finds the haunch, cuts of meat, lard, giblets,
live birds (a cockerel and a chicken), and freshly killed
ones. The second image contains various implements
(a soup pot from which emerges an elaborate upturned
mortar beside a bird’s head, a wine carafe, and a bottle
cooler), along with fish, whole and sliced up, cheese,
oysters, bread, ewers, various types of shellfish, and an
ornate basin. The foodstuffs, kitchen implements, and
vessels are all arranged on thick stone ledges. In the Still
Life with Meat, the front edge is carved with a sketchy
depiction of a scene that appears to be the Martyrdom
of Saint John the Baptist, and to the right a cartouche
framed by three putti with the painter’s signature in
trompe l’oeil carving: “ANDREA DE/ LEITO F”.14 In
the Still Life with Fish, the frieze is largely truncated and
seems to be merely ornamental, with a cartouche that
also reads: “ANDRES DELEITO/ FECIT”.
The splendidly rich decoration of the metal wine
cooler and the ewers in the Still Life with Fish, with
their figurative reliefs of children, reflects the artist’s
particular interest in depicting expensive vessels and
distinctive ornate objects. The often sketchy, spiralling
brushwork used for the details contrasts with the bold
strokes that define the principal figures, particularly
the expressive male figure in the Still Life with Meat.
The detail of the pot with the fish, which the young
female cook is preparing, recurs in other works and
43

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