Historical Oriental Rugs & Carpets
in Medieval European Paintings
Main Page


Back to "Azerbaijan Rugs" Main Page



Shells, second half of 17th century
Oil on canvas
Palazzo della Provincia, Siena

by Bartolomeo Bimbi (b Settignano, Florence, 1648; d Florence, 1730)

Bartolomeo Bimbi studied in Rome with Mario dei Fiori, then with Lorenzo Lippi, Onorio Marinari and Agnolo Gori (1610/20-78). He was employed at the Medici court, particularly under Ferdinand II and Cosimo III de' Medici and by Cosimo's daughter the Electress Palatine Anna Maria Luisa, to paint large canvases of flora and fauna for the Medici Villa dell'Ambrogiana and della Topaia, now conserved in the Pitti Palace and the Museo Botanico dell'Università. He specialized in painting from nature animals or vegetables that had some extraordinary or freakish aspect; he classified these by species, season or place of origin. His style, which remained constant throughout his long career, is distinguished by its scientific accuracy, and he must have had close contact with scientists and naturalists.

Bimbi's long career left a substantial degree of diversity in his oeuvre. He painted still-lifes, most commonly of flowers and fruit. His highly illustrative style was utilised to document various types of plants and vegetables, and often his paintings contain numbered items which relate to a list, which also appears as part of the picture, either in the form of a scroll or plaque.