Another humble kitchen subject, garlic, like onions, surfaces in much earlier still life paintings, such as Luis Melendez’s striking Still life with bream, oranges and garlic, 1772, Prado. It creates a range of painting problems disproportional to its apparent mundane appearance: the papery skins, the shiny cloves like cream jade, the subtle range of colours, modulating from silvery white to pale fuchsia. Here, a twisted braid of garlic heads hangs against a vibrating, stone-coloured background, the white gesso base lending the latter a golden translucent glow from which the garlic stands out in solid sculptural globes.
Stephen Rose was born in Rochford, Essex, in 1960. His career as an artist began when, aged 8, he saw a print of Caravaggio’s Conversion of St Paul. He was trained at the Medway College of Art (1979-80), Cheltenham College of Art (1980-83; BA Hons in Fine Art), the British School in Rome (1982), and the Royal Academy of Art (1983-86; Diploma in Fine Art). In 1992 he was elected Brother of the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London.
He has won various awards, including the British Institute Award, 1983; the Royal Academy Painting Prize, 1984; the Landseer Scholarship, 1985; the Richard Ford Travelling Scholarship, 1986 (when he studied at the Prado, Madrid); and the Royal Overseas League International Painting Competition Travelling Prize, 1987 (when he visited in northern India). He has exhibited at the ICA, the Mall Galleries, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the National Portrait Gallery (BP Portrait Competition); in 2001 he had his first one-man exhibition at Target, in Munich, Germany.
Publications: How to paint in oils, Winsor & Newton, 2008