Juan de Arellano
Oil on canvas
33 x 41 3/8 in. (83.8 x 105.1 cm)
Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase, Meadows Museum Acquisition Fund, MM.81.01 and MM.81.02
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While flower paintings had been produced by Northern painters since about 1600, floreros, as they came to be called, were uncommon in Spanish circles until midcentury. Around that time, Flemish still lifes by Daniel Seghers (1590–1661) began to be imported from Antwerp and the Italian painter Mario Nuzzi’s (1603–1673) sumptuous Baroque flower compositions were also popular in Spain by 1650.
Inspired by these Northern and Roman models, Juan de Arellano became the most distinguished flower painter working in Spain during the second half of the seventeenth century. His numerous floreros were instrumental in popularizing this genre in his native land. In his biography of Arellano, Antonio Palomino (1655–1726) wrote of the painter that “none of the Spaniards surpassed him in eminence in this skill.”
These pendant works, in which a lush assortment of flowers overflow from an open-work basket, are typical of Arellano’s late years. Like many other such floreros, this pair probably served as overdoor or overwindow decorations in grand private houses in Madrid.