Jacopo de Babari - Still Life with Partridge, Iron Gloves and Crossbow Strips

by Alexanda Tuschka


Although the Italian artist de Babari left us only a few paintings, one of his works has gone down in art history as groundbreaking. This work is considered the first autonomous still life since antiquity . It was not until shortly after that Dürer and Cranach the Younger painted still life watercolors. Although the image carrier itself is a wooden panel, the artist painted over the material and imitated the structure of the material in oil.


On the surface he arranged three objects - a shot partridge, iron gloves and a crossbow strip. At the bottom right there is also a cartellino with signature, date and the staff of Mercury, the artist's trademark. These markings were uncommon at the time of creation, as artists were predominantly viewed as craftsmen rather than honored as creators of their work.


A symbolic level of the objects is widely denied. It is assumed that the work refers to an original cabinet lining, for example to decorate a hunting room. De Babari's work can also be exemplary for the early development of trompe-l'oil painting - which aimed at deceiving the eyes with the help of images.


Jacopo de Babari - Still Life with Partridge, Iron Gloves and Crossbow Strips

Oil on wood, 1504, 52 x 42,5 cm, Alte Pinakothek in Munich