BOY WITH BASKET OF FRUIT – Caravaggio 1594
This painting dates from the beginning of the artistic career of Caravaggio, who, having come to Rome from Lombardy in the last decade of the 16th century, worked briefly for Cavalier d’Arpino and his brother. It is thus no coincidence that this canvas belonged to Cavalier d’Arpino, from whom it was confiscated, together with other works in 1607. It was in the Cavalier’s studio that Caravaggio learnt to “paint flowers and fruit so well imitated that everybody came to learn from him how to create the beauty that is still popular today”. The present work was produced during his early period as painter of still live. Datable around 1593, it may be related to his famous Basket of Fruit, located in Milan. As in that work, the fruit and leaves are depicted with irregularities and imperfections that are found in nature. During the 20th century, the attribution to Caravaggio, which first appeared in the inventory of 1790, was questioned by some art historians.