The still life was one of Francisco Oller’s favorite forms of painting. Oller would often subject the local produce—here plantains and yellow bananas— to an almost microscopic analysis in which every part of the fruit seems to pulsate with life. 

Plantains in particular are a staple of the Puerto Rican diet found in popular dishes such as tostones and mofongo, making them a cornerstone of the island’s culinary identity. Furthermore, these fruits in their 19th century and contemporary context may also be considered symbols of the island’s agricultural riches and emblems of national cultural bounty.

Posted by Serda Yalkin
Francisco Oller (Puerto Rican, 1833–1917) Still Life with Plantains and Bananas, Circa 1893. Oil on canvas. Private collection