A Fishmonger, 17th century
Unknown (Spanish - 17th century)
oil on canvas
96 x 120.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3450)
Genre subjects, or scenes of the everyday were popular throughout Europe in the seventeenth century. The tone is often humorous, if not wry - as here, with the fishmonger's incongruous, second-hand and threadbare finery. The work has proven difficult to attribute, its style at once international and yet markedly distinctive. It has been given to both Italian and Spanish painters, the confusion reflecting the wide influence of Italian models. The unknown artist looked to Miguel March (active in Valencia, c. 1633-70) for inspiration.