LUIS MELÉNDEZ

Naples, 1716 – Madrid, 1780

Still Life with Plate of Grapes and Plums, Jug, and Wine Cooler

Oil on canvas

48 x 35 cm.

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LUIS MELÉNDEZ

Naples, 1716 – Madrid, 1780

Still Life with Plate of Grapes and Plums, Jug, and Wine Cooler shows the high-fidelity naturalism, which makes Meléndez justly famous in still life. The life-sized objects are described correctly in terms of their relative size, shape, and colours. The pictorial potential of the range of realistic surface textures of these things is fully exploited; hard, shiny marble is visually rhymed with soft, shiny fruit and marbled plums, while vitreous white pottery is contrasted with pitted brown cork.

Meléndez’s lingering, attentive gaze records details such as the spots of decay on the pear, the holes in the cork, and the highlights on the staples of its wooden bands. Perhaps most alluring of all is the string wound around the neck of the bottle. This seemingly inconsequential detail amounts to an artistic flourish, which allows the artist to demonstrate his extraordinary powers of observation, not only in the light reflections of the glass itself, but the refraction of the winding string through the transparent volume of the bottleneck.

Technical data

LUIS MELÉNDEZ

Naples, 1716 – Madrid, 1780

Still Life with Plate of Grapes and Plums, Jug, and Wine Cooler

Oil on canvas

48 x 35 cm.