Bernardo Polo

c.1630 - c.1700

A Still Life of Green and Purple Figs, Grapes and Pears in a Silver Dish with Apples hanging from Strings


Oil on Canvas


84.2(h) x 57.8(w) cms


In 1995 Peter Cherry together with William Jordan proposed to name an anonymous Spanish still life painter, evidently originating from Zaragoza, the Master Pseudo-Hiepes. Numerous pictures have been attributed to this artist in the intervening years, but recently a still life from a private collector representing a sliced melon, figs, apricots and plums all resting on a silver dish has come to light sporting a full signature of Bernardo Polo. It is also interesting to note that for some years now, a number of Italian experts have baptised this same painter, (who appears to have executed some forty identifiable pictures), the 'Master of the Lombard Fruit Bowl', most of these paintings having been found in Spain.

According to the historians Palomino and Ceán Bermudez, Polo became a widely renowned painter whose fame travelled to the city of Madrid and indeed to the royal court as well at the end of the 17th Century. It is interesting to note that the first reference to the artist appears in the inventory of the collection of the House of Don Francisco Arguillur, the canon of El Pilar de Zaragoza, on the 2nd August 1655, in which are listed four still lives of flowers and fruits described as 'Originales de Bernardo'.

Polo is also recorded as marrying Luisa Perez de Leon in 1668.

The Conde de la Viňaza also notes that the chapter of La Seo de Zaragoza paid Polo in the last years of the 17th Century the sum of 285 libras for his work painting the ceiling and canvases for the chapel of the San Pedro Arbués in Zaragoza. Judging by the style and execution he must also have worked on the chapel 'del Sacramento' and 'de la San Blas' in the Cathedral of Huesca.


Noble Collection, Spain, for at least five generations