The work en titled Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and Roses is one of the most magnificent still lifes by the Spanish Baroque painter Francisco de Zurbarán. Currently, this work made in 1633, is preserved in the Norton Simon Museum in the city of Los Angeles, in the United States.
It is a still life made up of three groups of things, perfectly differentiated and separated by the immense blackness of the neutral background. In the center there is a basket with oranges, on the left there is a tin plate with lemons, while on the right there is another smaller plate with a cup and a rose, a flower that only remains in objective perspective and quantitatively, only identifying the rose, while the rest of the fruits, being more numerous, the painter has been able to experiment with all kinds of perspectives and positions.
Lemons, oranges and Zurbarán rose
The still life has a frankly sublime artistic quality.Zurbaránis known for his works for the convents ofSeville. Some works that logically always had a religious theme such as that of the famous Saint Hugo in the refectory of the Carthusians or the scenes from the life of Saint Bonaventure distributed today by great museums in the world.
However, all his mastery as a painter is manifested in this still life. The roughness of eachlemon, its reflections on the metal plate, the oranges can almost be smelled or all the delicate braiding of the wicker basket that houses them can be distinguished.
Furthermore, each group is a magnificent study, like the staggered composition based on the spherical shape of oranges rising on a pedestal, which is the true function of the basket. Or the study of lights, shadows and perspectives that he does with four lemons, each one in a different position. While the group of the rose, the plate and the cup is absolutely subtle, all built from elliptical shapes.
Everything stands out against the somber background, everything is individualized and at the same time everything is united by the branch of the orange tree. In reality, what unites this entire ensemble is the treatment of light, with which it is capable of providing a totally imperceptible architecture that makes the painting become an image of monumental spirituality. And it is very curious that a painter who knew how to paint such complex scenes typical of the Baroque, with different characters and miraculous stories such as those that can be seen in his most celebrated compositions about the lives of the saints, however it reaches quotas of sobriety and spirituality as great as that of this still life or his famous Agnus Dei.