Still Life with Fruit, Dead Birds and a Bowl of Morels
Rájec nad Svitavou State Chateau, Moravia, Czech Republic
Rájec nad Svitavou State Chateau
Coelestin Anctor Ximenes (Masmünster (Massevaux) – 1704 Brno)
Oil on canvas
h: 79 cm; w: 95 cm
Collection of Count Salm-Reifferscheidt at the Rájec nad Svitavou Chateau
The area of the picture featuring a seasonal still life is packed with dead birds – coal tit, great tit, goldfinch, pigeon, woodpecker, woodcock – and fruit such as grapes, damsons and apples, the produce of the autumn harvest. As is common with similar decorative still life paintings, the fruits shown do not co-exist in nature: morels are among the earliest spring mushrooms. The composition axis is provided by a silver-plated gun in the diagonal. Attention is drawn to the centre of the painting by red tones, changing to olive-green towards the edges.
Still life paintings made appealing decorations for chateau interiors as supraports, in dining halls, hunting rooms and studies. The Central European artists continued the tradition of Flemish still life established by Frans Snyders and Jan Fyt.
This still life is the only known work by Coelestin Anctor Ximenes, a remarkable artist of Spanish origin. In 1698 he became a burgher of Brno and an active member of the painters' guild. He signed a proposal that painters and sculptors be articled, the first attempt to detach artists from the guild system, which was followed by efforts to establish an art academy in Brno by the artists Etgens and Eckstein. The majority of artworks to originate in Moravia in the second half of the 17th century were the work of foreign artists mainly Dutch and Italian, while work by Czech artists prevailed in the 18th century.
Rájec nad Svitavou State Chateau
The picture is marked and dated Ximenes fe. 1697.
The picture comes from the collection of Count Salm-Reifferscheidt at the Rájec nad Svitavou Chateau, where it remains to this day. The origins of the collection, which is dominated by Dutch painting, was associated with Antonín Karl Salm-Reifferscheidt (1720–1769), High Steward of Archduchess Marie Isabela of Parma in Brussels. Salm-Reifferscheidt also built the Rájec chateau, designed by Isidore Canevale.
Oldřich Jakub Blažíček, Zámecká obrazárna v Rájci nad Svitavou, Prague, 1957, cat. 44.
Hana Seifertová-Korecká, Barokní zátiší v Čechách, Liberec, 1968, cat. 109.
Lubomír Slavíček, Katalog obrazárny v Rájci nad Svitavou, Prague, 1980, cat. 182.
Antonín Jirka, Středoevropské malířství 1600–1730 z moravských sbírek, Zlín, 1993, p. 38, cat. 71.
Filip Komárek, Vznik a vývoj malířského bratrstva sv. Lukáše v Brně v 1. polovině 18. století, Diploma, Brno, 2007, p. 105.
Zora Wörgötter "Still Life with Fruit, Dead Birds and a Bowl of Morels" in Discover Baroque Art , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;BAR;cz;Mus11_I;6;en&id=still_life
Prepared by: Zora WörgötterZora Wörgötter
AFFILIATION: Moravian Gallery in Brno
TITLE: Museum Curator and Local Co-ordinator
Zora Wörgötter studied Applied Painting at the Secondary School of Applied Arts, Video Art (Faculty of Fine Arts) at the University of Technology in Brno and Art History and Ethnology (Faculty of Arts) at Masaryk University, Brno. She has worked at the Moravian Gallery since 1997 and was curator of the Ancient Art Collection up until 2008. Specialising in Dutch and Central European painting of the 17th and 18th centuries, she has participated in the preparation of several exhibitions, catalogues and research projects in the Czech Republic and abroad, and published in the Moravian Gallery Bulletin, Opuscula historiae artium, and other journals. She is co-ordinator of the Art History Database www.ahice.net for the Czech Republic.
Copyedited by: Jiří KroupaJiří Kroupa
AFFILIATION: Department of the History of Art (Faculty of Arts) Masaryk
Professor Jiří Kroupa studied Art History, History and Sociology Masaryk University, Brno. He was a curator at the Kroměříž Museum and the Moravian Gallery in Brno before joining the staff at Masaryk University in 1988 (Head of the Department 1992–2002; Professor 1999 to present). His particular fields of interest are in the history of architecture, 18th-century cultural history and the methodology of art history. His long list of publications includes an edition on the architect Franz Anton Grimm and an essay “The alchemy of happiness: the Enlightenment in the Moravian context”. He was contributing editor for the volume Dans le miroir des ombres. Moravie a la age baroque. 1670–1790 (2002).
Translation by: Irma Charvátová
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: CZ 07