Francisco de Zurbarán’s Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose of 1633 (oil on canvas; 24 1/2 x 43 1/8 inches; The Norton Simon Foundation) is regarded as a highly important work in both the artist’s oeuvre and the history of still life-painting. It is also the artist’s only signed and dated still life. Balanced pyramidally on a silver plate are four citrons whose thick, bumpy rinds distinguish them from their close relative, the lemon, with which they are often confused. To the right, a basket of oranges is crowned with orange blossoms, and another silver dish displays a rose and a two-handled cup containing water. Such items customarily conveyed an homage to the Virgin: citrons symbolized faithfulness; oranges, virginity; orange blossoms, fecundity; water, purity; and the rose, divine love.
The Cleaning of a Masterpiece photography courtesy of The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with an essay by Sara Campbell, Senior Curator, the Norton Simon Museum, as well as in-depth catalogue entries by Margaret Iacono, Assistant Curator, The Frick Collection. The softcover publication is available in the Museum Shop of the Frick, and by phone 212-288-0700.
Principal funding for Masterpieces of European Painting from the Norton Simon Museum is provided by Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Colin B. Bailey. Major corporate support is provided by Fiduciary Trust Company International. Additional support is generously provided by the Thaw Charitable Trust and Mr. and Mrs. John P. Birkelund. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.