Fede Galizia: beyond still lifes

Fede Galizia, natura morta - still life

"Cake stand with figs and melon", 17th century

Still lifes by Fede Galizia (1578-1630) – described by the great art critic, Roberto Longhi as, “precise, yet somewhat afflicted” – make up only a small part of her artistic activity.

The daughter of a miniaturist and portrait painter who had moved from Trento to Milan in the 1570s, Galizia started painting at the young age of twelve in her father’s workshop. She was inspired by Lombard Naturalism and by Emilia’s Late Mannerism, as well as by Leonardo and Correggio, of whom she copied a few works.

She is attributed various portraits as well as paintings revolving around traditional subjects, such as a few “Judiths”, a “Christ Carrying the Cross”, and one “Doubting of Saint Thomas”.

However, she is mostly known for her still lifes: her “precise”, and “afflicted” representations of jasmine flowers, peaches, pears, and grapes, peaking into light from the darkness.

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December 9, 2014