1608 – 1662
A Still Life of Flowers including a Peony, Lily, Irises and Carnations arranged in a Conch Shell forming part of a Fountain with small Water Jets collecting in a Scallop Shell
Antonio Ponce was born in Valladolid in 1608 but was brought up in Madrid, where there are numerous documents relating to his activities in that city between the years 1634 to 1662. At the age of sixteen his recently widowed mother apprenticed him to Juan van der Hamen (1596-1631), probably the most important Spanish still life painter in the first half of the seventeenth century, who was to prove enormously influential to the young Ponce. The ties between the two artists were further strengthened four years later when Ponce married Francisca de Alfaro, van der Hamen's niece.
In 1638 he collaborated with Francisco Barrera at the Buen Retiro and in 1649 he worked on the decorations at San Felipe el Real, relating to the Arrival of the Queen Dona Mariana of Austria.
Ponce was a fine exponent of the Madrid School of still life, working much in the tradition of van der Hamen, with an acute feeling for light and Caravaggesque chiarascuro. His drawing is finely executed and his use of colour is strong and vibrant.
Although previously catalogued and regarded as a work by Juan Espinosa, a recent discovery of a signed and dated flower piece by Antonio Ponce, which is also exhibited in this exhibition, has led Dr Peter Cherry to reconsider his opinion. In his view this is a fully authentic work by Antonio Ponce and not, as previously thought, a work by Juan de Espinosa.
P. Cherry 'Arte y Natueraleza. El Bodegon Espanol en el Siglo de Oro, Madrid 1999, p.210-11, fig. LVI (as Juan de Espinosa);
P. Cherry, ' Flores Españolas del Siglo de Oro', Madrid, 2002, p. 127, no. 19 (as Juan de Espinosa)
Frans Hals Museum, 'Spanish Flower Painting in the Golden Age', Haarlem, Aug - Oct 2002, pp.96-97, no.16 (as Juan de Espinosa);
Museo Nacional del Prado, 'Flores Españolas del Siglo de Oro', Madrid, Nov 2001 - Feb 2002, p. 127, no. 19 (as Juan de Espinosa);
Albuquerque, New Mexico, 'El Alma de España: The Soul of Spain', Albuquerque Museum of Art, April – July 2005. No. 47