F. M. Ferro, “Il lume interiore di Fede Galizia: riflessioni in margine ad una nuova natura morta, due tavolette poco note e ad un’altra inedita”, Valori Tattili, 10/11 (2017-2018), pp. 75-84.
A metal dish placed on a wooden surface displays a pile of pears and peaches. This is a humble still life: the pears are small and stunted, the peaches paltry and speckled. Fruit from the orchard – peaches cultivated in rows, good for quenching thirst at harvest time and savored for their slightly bitter aftertaste. We can imagine Madonna Fede – since this painting at once brings Galizia to mind – receiving these fruits from a basket or knotted apron, and placing them, with her customary devotion to nature, in the golden shade of her studio, so as to paint them and save their wild, ephemeral beauty, and capture the allure of the world’s vanity.
Close to Panfilo Nuvolone, attentive in her youth to the painstaking talent of Figino and the whimsy of Arcimboldo, Fede Galizia was then surely entranced by Caravaggio’s Basket of Fruit acquired by Cardinal Federico Borromeo for the Ambrosiana Gallery. We are in the first decade of the seventeenth century, and it is Fede’s feminine sensibility that opens us to the utterly realistic and metaphysically abstracted vision defining the greatest masters of the genre – Chardin, Cézanne and Morandi.
Our fruits, which seem to come from an orchard in Manzoni’s The Betrothed – one might almost say picked from among the “shoots of mulberries, figs, peaches, cherries and plums” described in that epic novel – bear witness to this exemplary and eternal viewpoint with a rare level of mastery and pictorial quality. This is unadorned, rustic poetry, sweetly conveying the beauty of Lombardy.
Filippo Maria Ferro