Still life with lemons, oranges and a rose - Francisco de Zurbaran. 62.2 × 109.5 cm
The presented work is the only painting in the genre of still life by Francisco de Zurbaran, which the author personally signed, leaving an autograph and the date of creation.
You can immediately notice the originality of the canvas - a still life represents three disparate groups of objects. In the middle of the composition is a basket with oranges, to the right of it is a cup on a silver plate with a rose, and to the left are citrons (although they are mistakenly called lemons).
Researchers believe that this work is not just a still life, but a subtle religious allegory. Thus, the author depicted the Trinity, where a rose without thorns appears as a symbol of the immaculate conception, and the water in the cup and oranges with a branch represent the purity of the Virgin Mary. It is known that de Zurbaran duplicated a cup of water and a rose on a saucer in another of his works, executed from the same angle as this picture.
The author used black drapery and a dark brown table as a background, thereby maximally focusing the viewer's attention on the “talking” elements of the canvas.
Thanks to the roentgenogram of the picture, it is known today that Zurbaran was rewriting the canvas. In the original version, another plate was depicted between oranges and citrons, on which you can distinguish the favorite treat of the Spaniards of that time - caramelized sweet potato. Subsequently, the author abandoned this detail - as you know, the artist avoided overload in his works.
The picture passed from the hands of collectors until the 30s. was not in the meeting of the Italian Contini Bonacossi. Through difficult negotiations, one might say with a fight, the canvas was left in the ownership of Bonacossi, avoiding nationalization. In the 70s. the picture was acquired by the industrialist and philanthropist Norton Simon, having laid out a round sum of money for it, and today the canvas can be seen in his museum in California.