Portrait of a cabbage and other vegetables

A painting by Bartolomeo Bimbi
A painting by Bartolomeo Bimbi Photo Fondazione Torino Musei

Call it the vegetarian’s paradise. The exhibition on display in Turin, at Palazzo Madama, will please vegans, greengrocers and nature’s lovers alike. But will also interest and amuse everyone else. ‘Eccentrica Natura. Frutti e ortaggi stravaganti e bizzarri nei dipinti di Bartolomeo Bimbi per la famiglia Medici’ (Eccentric nature. Bizarre fruits and vegetables in the paintings of Bartolomeo Bimbi for the Medici Family) is an quite peculiliar exhibition.

The Gran Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici was a keen lover of nature, of plants, fruits and vegetables and he personally took care of his own orchard. He commissioned Bartolomeo Bimbi (Florence 1648-1730) with some paintings where cabbages, pumpkins, chestnuts, beetroots and other humble vegetables took the place of dames and chevaliers.

Bartolomeo Bimbi

One of the painting by Bartolomeo Bimbi on Display at Palazzo Madama - Photo Fondazione Torino Musei

Bimbi himself, at the request of the Medici, brought to court many new species and organised them in a detailed catalogue before painting them. The result of this quite extraordinary still life ‘portraits’ is on display until 11 April 2016. Together with the 25 paintings there are 60 wax models of life-sized fruits coming from the Museo Mediceo at Poggio a Caiano (Florence).

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