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Francisco de Zurbarán: 'A Cup of Water and a Rose'

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Although Zurbarán frequently included still life elements in his subject pictures, he painted very few independent still lifes. The motif of the cup of water on a silver plate with a rose appears in two religious subject paintings by him and in the celebrated 'Still Life with Basket of Oranges' of 1633 (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena). This work was probably painted in about 1630.

The silver plate is of a kind imported into Spain from Peru. Here the objects may be intended to have a symbolic character: the water in the cup perhaps refers to the Virgin's purity and the flower recalls her title of 'Mystic Rose'.

The canvas has been cut on three sides but the composition is likely to be substantially complete.


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