Still Life - Pears, Peaches and Grapes, &c.
James Peale, American, 1749 - 1831
When James Peale's eyesight declined around 1810, he abandoned miniature painting for larger oil compositions such as this still life. In this work, a lavish display of peaches, pears, and grapes spill out of a Chinese export porcelain basket and a bowl. The attention to detail and dramatic use of shadows are reminiscent of seventeenth-century Dutch still life painting. The fruit is portrayed at the height of its ripeness, though the pears are beginning to show spots of age. Completed when Peale was seventy-four, this image may represent the artist's heightened awareness of the transience of time near the end of his life.