Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 36



34
Too many cooks…; Cerezo, Barranco, De Leito, and the kitchen still life in Madrid
Too many cooks…; Cerezo, Barranco, De Leito, and the kitchen still life in Madrid
35
A fish painting, Still Life with Oysters, Crab, Lobster, and
Seafood, painted by Barranco in the 1650s, for instance,
may well be a response to Flemish still lifes (or Neapolitan
ones) which the artist saw in either Madrid or Seville.52
The heterogeneous nature of his subject matter would
appear to be borne out by recent attributions of still
lifes to the artist.53
While Barranco’s works are documented in Seville,
his kitchen pieces can be understood in the context of
painting in Madrid. A key work in this regard is Still Life
with Sheep’s Head, Aubergines, Partridge, and Utensils in Budapest
(fig. 13), since this bears an old inscription “original D
barranco” on the reverse of the original canvas.54
Fig. 13 / Francisco Barranco,
Kitchen Still Life (with Sheep’s
Head, Aubergines, Partridge,
and Utensils), oil on canvas,
73 x 92 cm, Budapest,
Szépmüvészet Múzeum.
Fig. 14 / Francisco Barranco,
Kitchen Still Life with Sheep’s
Head, Birds, Wine Cooler, and
Receptacles, oil on canvas, 68
x 90.8 cm, Private Collection.
Fig. 15 / Francisco Barranco,
Still Life with Apples, Fish,
Wine Cooler, and Receptacles,
oil on canvas, 72 x 88 cm,
Private Collection.
Technical analysis of this picture shows that its red
earth preparation is broadly consistent with paintings
made in Madrid.55 Other still lifes attributed to
Barranco on the basis of this picture show that the artist
varied the formula of the kitchen piece with a repertoire
of common receptacles – wooden buckets of water,
copper and brass vessels, wine coolers, and crockery –
arranged on a series of ledges, as per the kitchen still life
by Ignacio Arias (see fig. 6). The head of mutton with a
knife resting on a kind of butcher’s block appears in
the aforementioned work in Budapest and Still Life
with Sheep’s Head, Birds, Wine Cooler, and Receptacles
(fig. 14). The excellent condition of this last painting
allows an appreciation of the artist’s direct handling,
which sometimes forced lapses in the drawing of ellipses.
The stack of upturned earthenware dishes and
propped-up brass pan in this picture are also features
of Still Life with Apples, Fish, Wine Cooler, and Receptacles
(fig. 15). Still Life with Fish, Squid, Barrel, and Pans (fig. 16)
contains a flat copper pan of the same type as the one
which appears in the painting in Budapest, above, and
reappears, also overturned, in another fish piece, Still
Life with Fish, Oysters, and Receptacles (fig. 17), as well as the
kitchen piece of Arias (see fig. 6). 56 The ruddy colour
of copper and the dense impasto with which Barranco
describes the texture of the beaten and dented metal
is a characteristic of all of his paintings in which such
receptacles appear.

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