Workshop of Giovanni Martinelli (Montevarchi, Arezzo before 1604-1659 Florence)
Death comes to the dinner table oil on canvas 101 x 123cm (39 3/4 x 48 7/16in).
The present composition is known in at least five versions which vary in the number of figures, one of which is after a pendant to a depiction of the Gamblers. The existence of numerous variants reveals the popularity of the prototype, especially amongst the Caravaggio circle (see: L. Vertova, in B. Nicolson Caravaggism in Europe, vol. I, p. 104; vol. II, nos. 360, 362, 364 and 365, ill.).
Although the attribution to Martinelli is nowadays accepted, both Nicholson and Longhi attributed many versions of the memento mori in question to the French Caravaggist, Jean Duchamps, on the basis of the presence of the monogram 'DC' on some of them. However, Giuseppe Cantelli, in 1986, was the first to read the initials as the remains of a date and to recognise the pair as an early work of Giovanni Martinelli, belonging to his Manfredian phase (op. cit., p. 104.)
An autograph version by Giovanni Martinelli (oil on canvas, 114.5 x 160 cm.) was recently sold at Porro, Milan, 9 May 2007, lot 33. The present picture is a reduced version, lacking the lateral figures, and shows differences in the still life elements.