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Still Life with Grapes and a Bird

Antonio Leonelli (Antonio da Crevalcore) Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 617

This is among the earliest surviving independent still lifes in European painting. It playfully refers to a celebrated but long-lost work by the fifth-century-BCE Greek painter Zeuxis, who “produced a picture of grapes so successfully represented that birds flew up to it.” This sort of classically-inspired picture appealed to erudite patrons such as Isabella d’Este (1474–1539), marchioness of Mantua, for whom we know Leonelli painted a still life in 1506; he was, in fact, compared to Zeuxis by a scholar writing in 1513.

Still Life with Grapes and a Bird, Antonio Leonelli (Antonio da Crevalcore) (Italian, Crevalcore, born by 1443–died by 1525, Bologna (?)), Oil on canvas

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