Garden with architectural hedges and still life with flowers and fruit scattered on the ground in a ‘rustic’ arrangement
oil on canvas, cm 46×97
These two still lives in a landscape are beautiful and extraordinarily fresh examples of the pastoral taste, inspired by the love for life in country villas and for a domesticated and graceful nature that is typical of the 18th century. Previously attributed to Gaspare Lopez, they are now convincingly attributed to his colleague and fellow citizen Francesco Lavagna. The figure of this painter of flowers – of whom we know little about, apart from the fact that he was certainly a relative of Giuseppe Lavagna, a painter specialising in the same genre in Naples – is known due to the presence on the market of some works signed by him. The painting methods and compositions are similar to those of Lopez. However, compared to the paintings usually attributed to the pupil of Andrea Belvedere, this companioon piece is distinguishable for the choice and arrangement of objects that are a typical trademark of his and which can be found in paintings signed by Lavagna, such as the one that appeared on the antiques market in 1981. Another aspect which is typical of our flower painter is the markedly horizontal format of these two festive still lives, as well as his more minute style compared to his older master.
“La natura morta napoletana del Settecento”, edited by Achille della Ragione, Edizioni Napoli Arte, Naples, 2010, pp. 111-112, tab. 66-67.
“Il capriccio e la ragione. Eleganze del Settecento europeo”, exhibition catalogue, Museo del Tessuto di Prato, Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2017, p. 21.