Highlights of the month

Still Life with an Array of Flowers in a Basket

Venetian school, possibly from the workshop of Francesco Duramano (active 18th century)
18th century
Oil on canvas
77 x 111 cm
Mediterranean Gallery – Signs and Symbols
This still life shows an arrangement of roses, peonies, tulips and other flowers in and around a wicker basket set on the ground. It belongs to a popular genre of 18th century Venetian painting, that of floral still lifes. This work probably comes from the workshop of the obscure painter Francesco Duramano. Little is known about him except that he was trained by his mother but quickly surpassed her in skill. He was an extremely prolific and popular artist in Venice, and he painted exclusively still lifes with floral arrangements. His works were spread across Europe, probably bought by travellers who passed through Venice. This still life brings to the fore the focus on colour and varied brushwork of the Venetian school. In history, and in painting, different flowers have always had symbolic meanings. Peonies stand for bashfulness, white roses for purity and virtue, pink roses for grace, red roses for true love, while the yellow tulip symbolises happiness and love.