Still Life with vegetables, fruit, bread, and a strip of tuna
Oil on canvas, 74.5X101 cm + frame 7 cm, Inv. n. 242
This painting arrived in the Pinacoteca in 1965 as bequeathed by Count Luigi Zauli-Naldi, who was also among the leading experts of Italian still life. Previously the work had been in the collection of Amendola di Torre Annunziata.
It had also been exhibited in the memorable show of Naples-Zurich-Rotterdam in 1962, during which the studies of Italian still life received a systematic start-up. This painting in particular was the subject of a rich and, in many ways, interesting critical debate. As of today, the most accredited attribution is to Giovanni Battista Ruoppolo, a leading figure in the genre of Neapolitan painting.
Of extreme interest is the date 1661, which can be found, upside-down, on the sheet of paper underneath the tuna: it is, therefore, an example of the youthful production of this artist, when he had not yet begun experimenting with the Baroque style. During this phase, the clarity of the light and the brilliance of the colours enhance the prolific and original arrangement of the objects. The care taken with each individual element of the composition is outstanding, for the contrasts of light and shadow and for the effectiveness of the surfaces of the objects. The colour and the texture of the pigments are evidence of tasteful choices made that were to prevail in the years to come.