Saturday in the Museum with Fede

Image: Fede Galizia, “A Still Life of a Porcelain Bowl of Grapes on a Stone Ledge with a Medlar, Quinces, a Pomegranate and a Wasp”

For our Saturday art post this week we again turn to Italy and find another woman painter doing still lifes of extraordinary detail.  But before we get to the painting, we need to flag two of our other posts related to the primary subject of this website:  dining in Washington, D.C.  During this public health crisis we have kept updated resources and links to help the restaurant industry.  The first is one for supporting employees feeling the economic impact the hardest.  This includes collective efforts and efforts by individuals tied to specific restaurants like Go Fund Me pages.  The second post covers gift cards and take-out options from D.C. restaurants.  Please consider helping.

Employee Relief Links here

Restaurant Gift Card and Take-out/Delivery Links here

Now back to the art.  Like Giovanna Garzoni that we highlighted last week, Fede Galizia was an Italian painter who took up still lifes at the beginning of the 17th century.  This painting was one of a lot of two from Galizia that were auctioned by Sotheby’s a couple years ago (for $2 million).

Here is Sotheby’s biography:

“Born in 1578 in Milan, Italy, Fede Galizia, like many female artists of her time, was the daughter of a painter (a miniaturist), who is assumed to have taught her his craft. Little is known of her life, but her skill as a painter was first noted by Italian historian Giovanni P. Lomazzo when she was just 12 years old, and she was widely considered a prodigy. By the time she was a teenager, she was recognized internationally as a skilled portraitist.

“As her career evolved, Galizia began completing still life paintings in the Northern European style—a shift in mode that some art historians have correlated with the presence of acclaimed still life painter Jan Breughel in Milan in 1595. Although her initial still lifes were austere studies of subject matter, as her style evolved, they gave way to lavish and decadent compositions typically associated with Flemish artists. The exact date of her death is unknown, but she had her will drafted in 1630, the time in which the Italian plague was sweeping the country—it is assumed she fell victim to the disease and died around this time.”

From its description of the pair of paintings:

“Exemplified in the present pair of paintings is Galizia’s sensitive approach to her subject matter, her acute eye for detail, and her preference for rendering still-lifes with a restrained simplicity that is echoed in works such as Francisco de Zurbarán’s Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena).  Never overfilled or cluttered and always imbued with a degree of naturalism, Galizia’s compositions impart quiet yet indelible impressions.”

We could not find information on the current location of the painting, leading us to believe it is in a private collection.


One day we may get back to posting restaurant reviews and updating our list of recommended places to eat.  Until then, we will post occasionally on art and keep the employee and restaurant resources links updated.

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Be safe, stay inside.  When you get antsy for the freedom of before times, remember Kris Kristofferson’s insight from Me and Bobby McGee.