Melons and Morning Glories
1813 Raphaelle Peale Born: Annapolis, Maryland 1774 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1825 oil on canvas 20 3/4 x 25 3/4 in. (52.6 x 65.4 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Paul Mellon 1967.39.2 Not currently on view
Raphaelle Peale's father, Charles Willson Peale, urged his son to paint portraits instead of still lifes, which brought an artist less prestige and fewer commissions. But still lifes suited Raphaelle, who also worked as a taxidermist. He painted this melon as if it were a body opened up for examination, detailing its fluids and flesh so that the painting suggests life, fertility, and death, all at once.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
Still life - flower - morning-glory
Still life - fruit - watermelon
paint - oil
fabric - canvas