Late 18th Century
Still Life with Fish and Large Copper Pot

Oil on canvas
Image size: 24 x 28 1/2 inches (61 x 73 cm)
Contemporary style hand made frame


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This is an incredibly carefully executed work. On what appears to be a wooden ledge we see a plate of freshwater fish, possibly a roach, a copper pot, a larger terracota pot with two artichokes. The rich earth colour of copper kitchen pots and pans keep the painting within a narrow chromatic range and there is a rhythmic contrast between rounded and jagged shapes and between patterns. While the comestible items in many still-life paintings serve no obvious allegorical purpose, they can be viewed as reminders of the transient nature of luxury, the virtue of temperance, or the perils of gluttony.

In the 18th century Spanish artists adopted a more taxonomical approach to still life works, informed by the revolution in the sciences. Here, the wet, scaly bodies of the fish are reflected in their large, staring eyes. However, the lack of an open-mouth gawp on the fish, differentiate this painting from some of those that were depicted by earlier Spanish still life painters.