Giuseppe Recco (1634-1695)
Still Life with cuttlefish, fish, lobster, and a basket of oysters
Oil on canvas, 68x90 cm + frame 10 cm, Inv. n. 241
Giuseppe Recco, to whom the attribution of this work is agreed, is considered one of the most original and brilliant of all the seventeenth-century Italian painters. He has been attributed the specialisation in fish, like in the painting of the Pinacoteca, but in reality he produced a vast amount of work that covered a wide range of genres, from more traditional Neapolitan subjects like fish and the interior of pantries, to flowers, curiosities, and vanitas. The cultural references of Giuseppe Recco have always been widespread, including even elements of knowledge of Roman, Spanish, and Flemish still life.
In any case, by recognising a particular talent in the genre of fish, Giuseppe Recco humbly transfigures matter with lyrical touches of light and the sparking of colour against a shadowy background. Hence this Neapolitan painter remains anchored in a Neo-Caravaggism that shuns Baroque diversions and is capable of turning a composition into a moment of absolute lyrical transfiguration, where each individual element constitutes an isolated episode of light-colour. The result achieved with the basket full of shellfish and oysters is also brilliant.