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Paolo Porpora (born in Naples 1617 – 1673 Rome) appears for the first time, at the age of fifteen in 1632 in the Neapolitan workshop of Giacomo Recco. Later he transfers to Rome, were he is married in 1654 to a Sicilian from Palermo. Porpora will be noted as being present in the Roman Accademia di San Luca starting in 1655 even though; he will only be officially admitted the following year. In 1666 he appears among the members of the Congregazione dei Virtuosi del Pantheon, until his death, when the institution will pay the fees for the mass of the defunct artist. The catalogue of Porpora’s works is characterized by a constant production of floral compositions often enriched by the presence of animals [1].


This work, of which the whereabouts are unknown, is entitled “Thistles, flowers, reptiles” [2]. It is a forest landscape with a snail in the foreground. Remarkably, the snail is a sinistral specimen. The shape and colour pattern of the shell suggests a Helix-like species; the animal has only two tentacles shown. Porpora_1d

This is an example of false sinistrality in paintings, additional to those mentioned here.

The second work is mentioned on [3] as being in a private collection. It is a still life with fungi, and also mentioned on [4]; as location is given here Museo Villa Pignatelli. Naples, Italy. Further details on this painting and references to it are also given [4]. As the painting is in rather dark tones, the snail is difficult to see. However, it looks like a Helix species seen on the back; hence only the two larger tentacles are shown. This specimen is dextral.



[1] http://oldmasters.com/mot48.html?lang=fr.
[2] http://www.herper.com/herpart/artists/Porpora.html.
[3] http://to.ly/BzUl.
[4] http://namyco.org/art_registry/porpora.html.