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Title Still Life with Asparagus, Artichokes, Lemons and Cherries
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Attributed to Ledesma, Blas de (Spanish painter, active 1590-1614)
Date Earliest probably about 1602
Date Latest probably about 1614
Description Lemons, asparagus and artichokes are arranged symmetrically under the leaves of two cherry trees in this still life, which is attributed to Blas de Ledesma. This picture shows the meticulous style characteristic of Ledesma, who worked in Granada between 1602 and 1614 where he specialised in decorative painting. The austere simplicity and the emphasis on the central axis in Ledesma's compositions possibly influenced the approach to the genre adopted by Juan Sánchez Cotán and by Francisco Zurbarán later in the century. The lighting, however, is softer in Ledesma's still-life paintings.
Current Accession Number B.M.146
Subject still life (fruit)
Measurements 80 x 99 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Principal Exhibitions Spanish Masters, York Art Gallery, 2005 - 2006.
Publications Harris, E., 'Spanish Pictures from the Bowes Museum', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 95, no. 598, 1953, pp. 22-25; Soria, M., 'Notes on the Spanish Paintings in the Bowes Museum', The Connoisseur, vol. 148, no. 595, 1961, pp. 30-37; Young, E., 'Renaissance and Mannerism. Painting in Spain', Apollo, vol. 81, 1965, p. 211; Young, E., Catalogue of Spanish Paintings, Middlesbrough, 1988, p. 87.

Eric Young has referred to Blas de Ledesma's works as an example of 'the type of composition practised by Spanish painters around 1600'. This author considers that the symmetry which characterises Ledesma's works indicates that the origins of the Spanish still life must be located in 'indigenous sources', such as 'the compositions of Spanish Romanesque wall paintings and altar frontals', and not in Dutch or Flemish influences. See Young, E., 'New Perspectives on Spanish Still-Life Painting of the Golden Age', The Burlington Magazine, vol. 118, no. 877, 1976, pp. 202-14; for the Bowes painting, p. 204.

A similar still life attributed to Alejandro de Loarte was sold at Christie's, London, 14 December 1990, lot 43.

For comparison with other works attributed to Ledesma, see Torres Martín, R., Blas de Ledesma y el Bodegón Español, Madrid, 1978, which does not include the Bowes painting in the catalogue.

Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón



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