Gasparo Lopez Still Life with Flowers (Composition with roses, carnations, tulips, peonies and hydrangeas in vases with handles)


Museo del Palazzo Pretorio di Prato


end of 17th century


570 x 750 mm


Still Life

historical period


Exhibit Artwork

Artwork Details

The painting depicts a rich floral composition, a typical subject for Lopez, collected in large, elegant vase. The composition dominates the canvas and it is placed in an open space, probably a garden, resting on a surface, while on the background you can see a leaden sky full of clouds, illuminated by a faint light. On the surface you can see some leaves and flowers that have fallen from the vase. The flowers – carnations, tulips, peonies and hydrangeas - are described with great realism and detail. The author has perfectly outlined the shapes and colors, which are reproduced faithfully in the painting. The composition is illuminated by a warm and strong light on the left, while the right side remains in shadow, where you can only see the right handle of the large vase, decorated in rocaille style, which was in fashion in the early decades of the 18th century, the same period when the painting was made.

The flowers, which have been cut and collected into a composition, form a lively and flourishing still life with bright and deep colors and contrasts of chiaroscuro.
This pictorial genre was highly appreciated in the Neapolitan area, where Lopez had his early training, but also in Florence, especially by the Grand Dukes of the Medici family, who collected several paintings with this subject and other still lifes. These were, in fact, ornamental paintings, which reflected the scientific interests, especially naturalistic and botanical ones, popular at the time even among the ruling families.

Lopez´s works renewed the serious Neapolitan still lifes to more modern 18th-century style, with rocaille decorations and more elegant and lighter in ornamental elements, colors and lighting, as well as more imaginative as it was evident in his many works. The large cascades of flowers, often accompanied by marble and classic elements, enlivened the genre of still life, that was characterized especially in the Neapolitan area by motionless objects and dark and severe colors, with very deep light.

Artist Details

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Gasparo Lopez, known as Gasparo of Flowers, because he specialized in floral compositions and still lifes, was born in Naples. According to the biography of the artist written by De Dominici in the mid-18th century, Gasparo studied in Naples with Andrea Belvedere and French artist Jean Baptiste Du Buisson, although he soon moved to Dresden, where he worked for Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, Palatine elector, then in Rome, Venice and finally to Florence in 1738, where he died. In the Tuscan city floral painting was particularly appreciated as evidenced by the success of contemporary painters such as Bartolomeo Bimbi and Andrea Scacciati, who were also specialized in still lifes and floral paintings. In Florence Gasparo worked as a court painter for the Medici, especially for Grand Duke Giangastone, the last ruler of the dynasty.
His first signed and dated work is from 1712 and it dates back to his period in Prussia.
Lopez died in Florence, after returning from a trip to Venice, where the painter had had a dispute with a gondolier who hit him with an oar. Lopez, who was seriously injured, died shortly after in Florence.

Collection Details

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Prato’s Museo Civico is situated in the Palazzo Pretorio, in Piazza del Comune at the city center.

The first documents of the Palazzo date back to the end of the 13th century, when captain of the Guelfs, Francesco de’ Frescobaldi decided to purchase the building already owned by Pipini, to house the foreign magistrates, the court and the prisons. Between 1334 and 1338 the building was enlarged by Florentine craftsmen and the medieval appearance was changed. During the following centuries and especially in the 18th century a series of improvements were implemented finally until the late 19th century, when the building came under the demolition threat.

In 1912 an important restoration work led to the opening of the Galleria Comunale, which was previously housed in the Palazzo del Comune. The last restoration started in 1998 and it was finished in 2013. In September of the same year the museum reopened with the exhibition “From Donatello to Lippi. Officina pratese”.

The historical origins of the museum are linked to the decision of the grand duke of Tuscany, Leopold II, who wanted to create a collection of paintings for the students of the city’s drawing school (1788).

The collection was enriched thanks to various donations and purchases, until the official inauguration of the first exhibition organized by Giovanni Papini in 1912.

In 1926, thanks to Angiolo Badiani’s initiative, the State museum received their first assemblage of plaster casts by local sculptor Lorenzo Bartolini and in 1954 the museum was reopened with new layout, designed by Giuseppe Marchini.

In the late 1980s’ the gallery was closed for restoration work. During these years of improvements, the museum purchased the Crucifixion by Filippino Lippi and the altarpieces by Santi di Tito and Alessandro Allori were donated to the museum by Angela Riblet.

The museum holds many artworks, ranging from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Among these there are the polyptych with the Stories of the Cintola by Bernardo Daddi, polyptychs by Giovanni da Milano and Lorenzo Monaco, Filippo Lippi’s Madonna del Ceppo and the Adoration of the Child and Vincenzo Ferrer, Filippino Lippi’s Annunciation with St. Julian, Mattia Preti’s Repudiation of Agar and the Cabins by Ardengo Soffici.

The collection includes also an important assemblage of sculptures of the most important artists of the time, among them Andrea della Robbia and Benedetto Buglioni.