Just as the cultures of the East captured the popular imagination in the final quarter of the 19th century, so did the tropics. Frederic Church’s tremendously successful monumental paintings of the Andes Mountains played a significant role in the development of this interest, inspiring many of his peers to expand their repertoire of subjects.
In Tropical Still Life, Samuel Marsden Brookes reduced the landscape to a background element, choosing instead to focus his attention on the exotic delicacies that were imported from warmer climates. Brookes’ paintings are noteworthy for their meticulous attention to detail. In this painting he has even included a small trompe-l’oeil (trick the eye) detail: a fly that appears to rest on the vase as well as on the surface of the painting.
oil paint, canvas
Measurements: canvas height: 31 inches canvas width: 26.25 inches frame depth: 4 inches frame height: 37 inches frame width: 32 inchesThe Beasley-Weskett Collection. Gift of Clarence and Julia Beasley 2002.100.2
Currently on view at Mint Museum UPTOWN