Spanish Still Life : A Study of Jasmine and Fruit

I first saw this painting during an exhibition in Brussels devoted to Spanish still life art and it stayed in my memory. The artist behind it is Benito Espinós (1748-1818), whose still life floral arrangements are among the most dramatic and varied.

If you could match this painting to a perfume, what would you select?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, detail, at the Spanish Still Life exhibit, Bozar.

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14 Comments

  • KatieAnn: Victoria, this is such a captivating painting! I had never heard of this artist before. I will need to look at more of his work. Thank you for sharing this.

    Frederic Malle’s Le Parfum de Therese comes to mind. October 4, 2019 at 9:35am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

    What a lovely painting!

    The flowers appear to be jasmine, and the berries appear to be pyracantha (firethorn), based on the long, dark leaves. And on the right side, I see a hint of a pear and some other fruit.

    Looking for fragrances containing jasmine, red berries and pear, I found a couple: Western Leather White (2014) by Alexandre J (French), and Imperial Jade Empress (2003) by Agatha Brown (a New Yorker). Western Leather White has red berries in the top notes, and both jasmine and pear in the heart notes. Imperial Jade Empress has red berries, William pear (and ivy) in the top notes, and jasmine in the middle notes.

    I then thought of Spanish perfume houses, and came up with two fragrances by Paco Rabanne: Eau d’Été (2004), which has both jasmine and red berries in the heart notes; and Lady Million, which has raspberry in the top notes and jasmine in the heart notes.

    Those who like cherry notes might appreciate Cherry Blossom (Guerlain, 2011), which has both cherry and jasmine in the middle notes. Also, for a richer and perhaps, darker scent, to capture the darkness in the picture, I would suggest Aromatics Black Cherry (Clinique, 2016). This scent has cherry and white pepper in the top notes, jasmine among the middle notes, and woods and labdanum (adding leathery and smoky tones) in the base notes.

    Alas, I haven’t smelled any of these fragrances; I can only imagine them!

    With kind regards,
    Tourmaline October 4, 2019 at 11:12am Reply

    • Matty: I love you’re well thoght out answers. October 4, 2019 at 11:43am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Matty,

        Thank you; you are very kind. I’m glad you enjoy reading my comments.

        With kind regards,
        Tourmaline October 4, 2019 at 9:51pm Reply

  • Hanh-Trang: Thanks for the painting. This depicts my writing corner on lucky days when I can get a sprig of jasmine or gardenia in season to liven it up. Even though Joy opens up a little bit intense and lively, it settles down in a delicious, quiet comfort mood just like the background and the hint of soft fruit in the corner of the painting as I get into my daily work. October 4, 2019 at 11:37am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you Victoria for the discovery of a wonderful painter I had never hear of. For the mostly monochrome aspect of the picture except for the beautifully judged touch of red I would choose two perfumes which work as a duo: Alaia, the original black bottle for its stark elegance (your review made me want it) and Alaia Blanche, discovered this summer with its solar notes, it remdinds me of a white drapery touched by the sun, I love and now have them both, they are so different from the mainstream, disappointing perfumes we are inundated with. October 4, 2019 at 12:26pm Reply

  • Sandra: What a gorgeous painting..I love the mood!

    I would really have to think about what perfume would match..

    Do you still send out your newsletters? I haven’t gotten any in a long while.. October 4, 2019 at 3:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t done it lately, since my travel and work schedule has made it too difficult. I’ll try to get back to it. October 9, 2019 at 12:00pm Reply

  • Nina: I love the painting!

    The interplay between light and dark, hhe feeling of distance and peace/eternity, like dead objects preserved forever, almost mumified through the eye of the artist, reminds me of Serge Lutens La Religieuse.
    We have the contradiction good/evil/black/white and the jasmine. October 4, 2019 at 3:18pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: What a delightful task: it reminds me of something Sei Shonagon might ask.
    The painting (excerpt?) is dark, yet completely uncluttered. There is a wonderful symmetry: three white blossoms, three red berries, both forming triangles. And an abundance of dark, matt green foliage, as opposed to the luminous, glittering glass carafe.
    Therefore, a darkish, oak-mossy perfume, a chypre perhaps, with a sparkling top, and a juicy fruity middle.
    I suggest Mitsouko: inky oak-moss in the depths, fresh bergamot and some peach. October 4, 2019 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Cassieflower: Love that piece. My first reaction, out of left-field: Dita Von Teese. October 6, 2019 at 10:12pm Reply

  • Nina Zolotow: As it happens, I was just in Sevilla, where it was jasmine season (not orange blossom season). Some days I wore By Kilian Love and Tears (which I had brought because it seemed cooling) and it was quite perfect. So that’s my choice. Also there I discovered a beautiful orange blossom EdT made in Seville from Seville orange trees: http://www.benditaluz.es/index-eng.html October 7, 2019 at 2:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: What beautiful responses to this post! Thank you to everyone.

      I will definitely have to find this orange blossom, Nina. Thank you. October 9, 2019 at 11:32am Reply

      • Nina Zolotow: I hope you are able to get some and that you love it. I also bought some of the soap, which is gorgeous. I had to restrain myself from buying everything. And I’m actually rather picky about what perfumes I like, especially modern ones. October 9, 2019 at 1:29pm Reply

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