The most prominent still life painter active in Seville in the seventeenth century, Pedro de Camprobín Passano was trained in Toledo between 1619 and 1624 under Luís Tristán. By 1628, he is recorded in Seville, where he married the daughter of the artist Antonio de Arnos, and in 1630 became a member of the Seville painters' guild. In 1660, along with Murillo, Valdés Leal and other leading artists of the day, Camprobín became a founder member of the Seville Academy.
Evidently familiar with the work of the Sevillian artist Juan, son of Francisco de Zurbarán, his earlier work shows some influence of those two artists. In the 1650s, he developed a more personal style, using fluent brushstrokes, and tending towards understated compositions, in contrast to the often large and usually heavily-laden kitchen still lifes being produced in Madrid at that time.
The decade of the 1660s was the summit of Camprobín's career. The still lifes that he produced during that period 'are unlike any others painted in Spain, and they establish Camprobín as one of the most distinctive masters of still-life painting in Spain' (Jordan and Cherry, op. cit., p. 111). In these years, the artist began to change his technique, 'relying to a much greater extent on the use of glazing to achieve delicacy in modelling' (ibid., p. 114). As Jordan and Cherry point out, this has led to the fragile state of much of his extant oeuvre, and causes them to number the present pair 'among his best preserved paintings'.
The first picture of the pair depicts a silver-gilt tazza supporting sweetmeats next to a terrracotta pot sitting on a silver dish; to the left is a simple bouquet of flowers in a glass vase. The other work shows a silver plate of chestnuts, a glass cup of olives, a bottle of wine and a silver wine cup. As Jordan and Cherry explain, both silver objects are of the type that was manufactured at the silver mines of Peru and Bolivia and imported ready-made, to save on cost, to Seville. Executed in warm colours and with velvety modelling, this pair of still lifes exude all the relaxed elegance of contemporary Sevillian society.
Chestnuts on a silver dish, a façon-de-Venise glass filled with preserved chestnuts, a bottle and a tin bowl filled with wine on a table ledge; and Assorted sweetmeats on a silver-gilt tazza, carnations and jasmine in a small vase, and an earthenware cup on a silver plate on a table ledge
Oil on canvas
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SWISS COLLECTION
(lots 58, 76, 86, 88, 94, 95)
The second signed and dated 'P de Camprouin passano. f. 1663.' (lower right)
Pedro de Camprobín Passano
London, National Gallery, W.B. Jordan and P. Cherry eds., catalogue of the exhibition, Spanish Still Life from Velázquez to Goya, 22 February-21 May 1995, pp. 112-3, nos. 43 and 44, illustrated.
16½ x 24¼ in. (42 x 61.5 cm.)
Lopez Cepero y Canaveral, Seville.
The Marques de Casa Torres, Madrid.
Igor Bier, Monaco, from whom acquired in 1983 by the family of the present owner and thence by descent.