Juan de Espinosa’s artful arrangement portrays each element of the makings of a substantial meal with compelling clarity. The vegetables have a humble aspect, seen in the lumpy peel of the cucumbers and the ragged leaves that nearly hide the muted purple eggplants. Lifted above them on a stone step is a glass bowl laden with ripe, beautiful fruit. The skins of the apples and plums are tight and glossy, and the succulent grapes—translucent globes bursting with juice—dangle in bunches over the rim of the bowl to rest on the stone ledge. The two birds—yet to be plucked—are whimsically draped around the pale, green cabbage. Dramatic lighting, in stark contrast to the cast shadows and the impenetrable black background, turns familiar food into wondrous objects. Through invention and astonishing skill, Espinosa demonstrates his mastery of a distinctly Spanish approach to still life.

From Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 89 (2015)
Artist Juan de Espinosa, Spanish, 1628-1659
  • Still Life with Fruit, Vegetables and Wild Fowl
Date between 1628 and 1659
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Framed: 34 13/16 × 25 9/16 inches (88.4 × 65 cm)
Credit Line Museum Purchase, Joseph M. de Grimme Memorial Fund
Accession Number 2012.13
Department European Painting
Not On View
(Palais Dorotheum, Vienna, Austria);
2012-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Bulletin of the DIA: Notable Acquisitions, 2000–2015 89, no. 1/4 (2015): p. 76 (ill.).