National Gallery of Art - EXHIBITIONS

Image: Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery. Please follow the links below for related online resources or visit our current exhibitions schedule.

Related Resources

Exhibition Feature
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Biography of
Luis Meléndez

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NGA Arttalk: Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life, Part 1: The Artist
Gretchen Hirschauer, associate curator, Italian and Spanish paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington
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NGA Arttalk: Luis Melendez: Master of the Spanish Still Life, Part 2: Meléndez's Working Method
Gretchen Hirschauer, associate curator, Italian and Spanish paintings, and Catherine Metzger, senior conservator of paintings, National Gallery of Art, Washington
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Behind the Scenes: Garden Café España and the Culinary Traditions of Spain
Alvaro Soler del Campo, director, Royal Armory Madrid, and chief curator, Patrimonio Nacional; José Andrés, chef and owner, Jaleo and THINKfoodGROUP
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Behind the Scenes:Garden Café España y las Tradiciones Culinarias Españolas
Alvaro Soler del Campo, Director de la Real Armería en Madrid y Conservador jefe, Patrimonio Nacional y el Chef José Andrés, propietario del Jaleo y THINKfoodGROUP.
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Flavors of Spain Recipe Note Card Set
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NGAkids Interactive
Still Life

Web feature
Still Life

Press Materials

Image: Luis Meléndez Still Life with Figs and Bread, 1760s Patrons' Permanent Fund 2000.6.1Luis Meléndez (1715–1780) is now recognized as the premier still-life painter in 18th-century Spain, indeed one of the greatest in all of Europe, though his reputation had long been eclipsed by the achievements of his Spanish contemporary, Francisco Goya. After a precarious beginning to his career, Meléndez received a royal commission in 1771 from the Prince of Asturias (later King Charles IV) to paint a series of still lifes depicting "the four Seasons of the Year, or more properly, the four Elements, with the aim of composing an amusing cabinet with every species of food produced by the Spanish climate." He became an inventive and consummate painter of still-life arrangements, and in 2000 the National Gallery of Art proudly acquired Still Life with Figs and Bread (c. 1770). This exquisite painting will be featured in an exhibition of some 30 canvases that showcase the master’s virtuoso talent for rendering everyday objects with exacting detail, marvelous effects of color and light, and subtle variations of texture. Paintings from the royal commission, including eight from the Museo del Prado in Spain, as well as works from other European collections, will be on view with related works from American collections. Several loans have never before been exhibited in public. Also on display will be period objects—including an 18th-century cork wine cooler, Alcorcón pottery, a lusterware honey pot, and a copper chocolate pot—like those represented in Meléndez’s mesmerizing still lifes.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art.

Sponsor: The exhibition is sponsored by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.

It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

In-kind promotional support for this exhibition has been provided by Chef José Andrés of Jaleo and THINKfoodGROUP.