About Mario Nuzzi
Italian still life painter
Penna in Teverina 1603 – 1673 Rome
Nicknamed ‘Mario dei fiori’.
Mario Nuzzi was the first and most famous Roman painter to specialize in flower-pieces.
Nuzzi was very probably a pupil of his uncle Tommaso Salini (1575 – 1625). Between 1621 and 1625 both lived together in Rome in the Strada Paolina.
In 1646 Nuzzi was elected member of the Congregation of the Virtuosi in the Pantheon in Rome. From 1665 he became regent and then member of the Painter’s Academy of Saint Luc in Rome.
Typical of Nuzzi are the minute observation of various kinds of flowers, a refined sense of design and an interest in effects of light. The black background in our painting shows the influence of Caravaggio through Salini. Nuzzi also responded to the art of the Neapolitan flower painter Paolo Porpora (1617 – 1673), who was in Rome from the early 1650s, in the service, as was Mario, of Cardinal Flavio Chigi. Paolo was the brother of Nicola Porpora (1686 – 1768), the famous Baroque composer.
About our painting
Five paintings executed for Cardinal Chigi’s palace in Ariccia (just South of Rome and Ciampino airport) can be securely attributed to Mario Nuzzi. These are the Four Seasons painted in collaboration with the figure painters Carlo Maratti, Bernardino Mei, Giacinto Brandi and Filippo Lauri, plus the famous self portrait showing him while he is painting flowers (his portrait is by Giovanni Maria Morandi).
These paintings form the basis for an ever expanding number of paintings that have been attributed to Nuzzi, often on very loose ground.
Nuzzi was very influential, both in Rome and in Spain, where many of his works were imported and where he strongly influenced Juan de Arellano.
Our painting was made by an artist working under Nuzzi’s influence around 1650.