A Pelican in a Landscape
Oil on canvas (relined). 84 x 66 cm.
This canvas depicts a "pelecanus onocrotalus", standing by a small stream surrounded by typical lakeside vegetation, against an atmospheric background. The pelican's stance allows the observer to take in all its anatomic details. The scientific precision of the depiction, the stylistic features and painstaking illustration of the animal protagonist identify this work as a Florentine still life of the late Medici era. The elegance and beauty of the composition and its hyperrealistic intensity led professor Bellesi to ascribe this canvas to Bartolomeo Bimbi, a leading representative of Florentine still-life painting in the late Baroque.
Born in Settignano in 1648, Bimbi trained in Florence, and later moved Rome, where he was a pupil of Mario de’ Fiori. It was thanks to the latter that he began to specialise in still lifes, becoming a leading figure in the genre after just a few years. His detailed depictions and impeccable pictorial technique increased the demand for his work amongst the nobility and members of the Medicean grand-ducal family.
There was a strong interest in ornithology in Florence in the late 17th century: Cosimo III, who engaged Bimbi as a scientific documenter, was particularly close to Francesco Redi, author of "Osservazioni sugli uccelli", and made him director of the Gabinetto di Storia Naturale at Villa dell'Ambrogiana in Montelupo Fiorentino.
Prof. Dr. Sandro Bellesi, Sesto Fiorentino (undated).