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Life of ANTONIO PONCE


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  Spanish painter. He had an undistinguished career in Madrid as a painter of still-lifes and flower-pieces. In 1624 Ponce was apprenticed to Juan van der Hamen y Len, whose niece he married in 1628. The format of Ponce’s compositions and some of his motifs derive from works by van der Hamen, though lacking their subtlety of composition, spatial clarity and formal conviction. In Vase of Flowers, signed and dated 1650 (Strasbourg, Muse des Beaux-Arts), Ponce’s style shows laboured imitation of van der Hamen’s: his dry execution results in a paradoxically airless and petrified quality.
  Ponce was always a derivative artist, and some of his still-lifes with seasonal themes are similar to works by Francisco de Barrera, another modest painter with whom he was documented in the 1630s. Paintings from the 1640s and 1650s depicting baskets of fruit and bunches of grapes against light backgrounds are characterized by compositional informality, softer lighting and freer brushwork, through which Ponce attempted to convey the textures of objects and endow the subject with greater naturalness. Although they fall far short of the best still-lifes produced in Madrid during that period, they show that later in his career Ponce updated his style and produced works of considerable charm.
  
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Vase of Flowers
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Vase of Flowers
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Still-Life with Flowers, Artichokes and Fruit
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