R.A.H. (againstathorn) wrote,

Vincenzo Campi - The Fruit Seller, 1580

I always enjoy seeing art history paintings utilized for modern publications and adverts. It's like recognizing a familiar face within a crowd of strangers. I'm sure many artists from centuries past would be astonished, or in some cases appalled, to witness their work reproduced by our technology and used for commercial purposes. We've come a long way since the Gutenberg printed press.


I was first introduced to Vincenzo Campi's The Fruit Seller when used for the cover of Owl Book's The Food Chronology: A Food Lover's Compendium of Events and Anecdotes, from Prehistory to the Present. The painting sparked my interest so I checked for it on the copyright acknowledgements page, however no specific information on the work was available other than it was supplied by Scala Archives, a fine art digital gallery. I scoured the Scala website looking for this mysterious painting, but to no avail. What a bummer.

A few months later I encountered The Fruit Seller again, this time while flipping through the pages of Futures Magazine. The acknowledgements section didn't even mention the painting, but alas I returned to Scala's website and eventually found the elusive work in their gallery archives.

Finally I could sleep well at night!

This work provides a wonderful example of what one might call the Market, Kitchen and Pantry genre of painting, which gained popularity in the 16th century Europe as new agricultural goods became available in the marketplace. I'd assume the various still lifes featured throughout this piece provide a credible record for those interested in botanical science.

Fruit Seller would seem an appropriate choice to use for a book specializing in food or in a magazine focusing on commodities. That said, while searching the Scala archives I happened upon other artists' variations on this theme, some which would probably be too racy for the cover of Food Network Magazine, such as the cookmaid with her blouse undone to reveal a generous eyeful of cleavage. Not that I mind this, but said bosom makes it challenging to keep one's attention on the perishable goods!

And yeah, here’s a link: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/bacon-cookmaid-with-still-life-of-vegetables-and-fruit-t06995
Tags: art for the month of june
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