Arrangement in Orange, Red and White
Giuseppe Volò called Vicenzino
( Milano, 1662 - Milano, 1700 )
Oil on canvas 69 x 89 cm
Monaco, Kallneiber Collection
Monte-Carlo, Maison d’Art, I Profumi della Natura, exh. cat., 2000 ; « From Light to Enlightenment » : Italian old master paintings from 16th to 18th centuries, Shanghai Art Museum, China, 12 - 17 November 2005.
I Profumi della Natura, exh. cat., Monte-Carlo, Maison d’Art, 2000, no. 12 ; « From Light to Enlightenment » : Italian old master paintings from 16th to 18th centuries, Exhibition catalogue, Shanghai Art Museum, China, 12 - 17 November 2005, n 31.
Each of these three canvases is an exercise in elegant decoration : the first is the most intimate, a vertical composition representing a glass vase poised on a stone surface and observed close up ; it is lit from the left and contains tulips, carnations and white roses, among others. The second canvas is horizontal and presents a profusion of flowers arranged on two surfaces : above, our eye is attracted by an arrangement with deep pink peonies, while a metal vase to the right contains red carnations and double white roses. Below, in the centre foreground, more pink peonies and large white roses are displayed. Tulips appear here and there. The third picture is also horizontally composed, with a more loosely arranged assortment placed on what appears to be a rocky ledge, caught by splashes of light. The dominant colours here are orange, red and white, and the flowers include tulips.
Far more than they do today, people were aware of the symbolism of individual flowers (the rose is sacred to Venus), as well as their price (a tulip is more valuable and rare than a carnation) – but these paintings were not made for symbolic purposes ; rather, they were (and still remain) exuberant expressions of nature, and for those who owned them they represented a celebration of the floral world within a domestic interior.