Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life
February 2 - May 9, 2010
Luis Meléndez (1716–1780) was the greatest still life painter of 18th-century Spain. An accomplished painter of miniatures, he began creating still lifes as early as 1759. In 1771 he was awarded a commission from the Prince of Asturias (later Charles IV), an avid amateur of the new science of natural history, to paint an extensive series of works documenting "every species of food produced by the Spanish climate." An inventive and consummate master of still lifes, the artist rendered everyday objects with exacting detail, but also created marvelous effects of light and color and a wide range and variety of textures. "Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life" features many of the artist's works in American collections, grouping them with relevant works borrowed from abroad, and explores some of the technical aspects of his extraordinarily realistic still life paintings.