Sanchez Cotan wished to reproduce with the greatest pictorial accuracy some elements of nature that he positions in a balanced composition. Vegetables, fruit and game fowls are laying or hanging in a uniformly gray window frame against a black background. He had invented the bodegon, an unprecedented style in modern painting that anticipates Chardin and Cézanne.
Several originals survive. One of them is dated 1602. Another one, oil on canvas re-sized at 73 x 62 cm after removal of the central part, was sold for £ 4M including premium by Christie's on December 8, 2004.
The growing interest in botanical gardens and cabinets of curiosity led to the still life paintings of flowers and fruit in Flanders and Milan from 1606. In the 1620s the best Spanish continuator to Sanchez Cotan, Juan van der Hamen y Leon, inserts flowers in the bodegones.
In 1626 van der Hamen finds a trick to display complex arrangements in very large formats : he replaces Sanchez Cotan's window by three stone bases of varying heights and widths.
On May 1 in New York, Christie's sells a bodegon of fruit with a large vase of flowers, oil on canvas 86 x 132 cm painted by van der Hamen in 1629, lot 109 estimated $ 6M. Painted in the same year and style by the same artist, a bodegon of fruit with an artichoke, 79 x 100 cm, was sold for € 900K including premium by Christie's on October 6, 2004.
SOLD for $ 6.5M including premium