The style of the painting is reminiscent of the time and milieu of Giovanni Domenico Valentini, a painter who specialised in small ‘kitchens’ and apothecaries’ shops. It is believed that he was from Romagna but his activity can be traced back to Rome.
Valentini’s unusual subjects, which documents indicate are closely linked to the Roman Bamboccianti, reflect a desire to emulate the domestic themes developed by Dutch artists, who were also enjoying considerable success in Italy. They are pictures in which the eye of the observer is invited to enjoy perusing small, humble things, while the optical and tactile description of the objects plays a fundamental part.
Such studies are rather rare, but not unknown to still life enthusiasts. The origin of these studies can be traced back both to drawings and to oil sketches for figure painting, and hold a particular fascination because they tell a story of real life, whereas often the final execution of still lifes was based on the transcription of different sketches or recombined cartoons to vary the compositions.
L. F. Porzio, in Spunti per Conversare, vol. 11, Nella Longari Gallery, Milan 2008, pp. 63-65, n. 11.