Cake Stand with Crystal ware, Musical Instruments, Book and Fruit

Cristoforo Munari

Reggio Emilia, 1667 – Pisa, 1720

Oil on canvas, 135 x 97cm

Inv. 2978

The Galleria Estense, Modena

Duke Rinaldo d’Este (Modena, 1655 - 1737) commissioned this painting by Cristoforo Munari in 1708 along with a corresponding piece kept at the Galleria to this day (inv. 2976).

During this period, the artist from Reggio Emilia worked for Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici in Florence. He became a master in a highly decorative type of opulent and aristocratic that were perfectly suited to decorate contemporary palaces of the nobility. The elegant composition of the musical instruments, crystal ware, books and food is masterfully executed. The light exposes each object, creating a realistic effect wherein the viewer feels that the objects can be touched and perhaps even smelled. His search for perfection places the artist amongst the best in this field among artists such as Giovan Paolo Castelli, Mario de’ Fiori, Michelangelo di Campidoglio and the German artist Christian Berentz: all active on the Roman scene (to which Munari had also belonged) during the late-seventeenth-century.