A Vase of Tulips, Carnations and Roses
Giuseppe Volò called Vicenzino
( Milano, 1662 - Milano, 1700 )
Oil on canvas, 71.1x52.1 cm
« From Light to Enlightenment » : Italian old master paintings from 16th to 18th centuries, Shanghai Art Museum, China, 12 - 17 November 2005.
« From Light to Enlightenment » : Italian old master paintings from 16th to 18th centuries, Exhibition catalogue, Shanghai Art Museum, China, 12 - 17 November 2005, n 33.
This canvas is an exercise in elegant decoration : it is an intimate, a vertical composition representing a glass vase poised on a stone surface and observed close up ; it is lit from the left and contains tulips, carnations and white roses, among others.
Far more than they do today, people were aware of the symbolism of individual flowers (the rose is sacred to Venus), as well as their price (a tulip is more valuable and rare than a carnation) – but these paintings were not made for symbolic purposes ; rather, they were (and still remain) exuberant expressions of nature, and for those who owned them they represented a celebration of the floral world within a domestic interior.