The bounty of food shown here includes heavy bunches of white cornicella grapes, black rounded grapes, apples, pears, peaches and nectarines. All of these would have thrived in the warm climate and the soil surrounding Naples, which was made particularly fertile through frequent volcanic activity. Scattered around the fruit are white jasmine flowers. These would have possessed a heady scent, increasing the sensory appeal of this scene.
The luminous quality and attention to accurate detail in this painting is typical of Baroque Neapolitan still life painters like Giuseppe Ruoppolo, who signed this work.
Ruoppolo belonged to one of the leading families of still life painters in Naples. Not much is known about his life, and he remains a mysterious figure, often confused with other still life painters due to the monograms ‘GR’ (adopted in the same years by the more famous Giuseppe Recco) and ‘GRU’ (used by a later painter).
Signed: G.R... polo.
Giuseppe Ruoppolo Still Life with Fruit and Mushrooms about 1700 © Compton Verney