Caravaggio - Fruit Basket

by Alexandra Tuschka

The overfilled fruit basket almost seems to fall off the edge of the table! This marks the lower edge of the picture and extends over the entire lower picture surface. This unusual perspective feature leads to a monumentalization of the depicted.


The painting represents one of the first autonomous still lifes and was created by Caravaggio in his early years in Rome for the Cardinal del Monte. There is still none of the strong contrasts of light and dark for which the artist would become so famous. Instead, the unagitated yellow background guides the viewer's gaze directly to the centrally positioned still life .


Around 1600, the still life was able to slowly develop as an independent pictorial genre. On the one hand, there was a market for these pictorial motifs, as the image type of the small collector or gallery picture emerged, and on the other hand, an artist could distinguish himself with it as particularly capable of reproducing materiality and various materials: here, for example, a wormhole is clearly visible in the apple in front; the basket's weave also betrays an extraordinary, realistic look.


Caravaggio - Fruit Basket

Oil on canvas, 1596, 45 x 59 cm, Pinacoteca in Milan