National Gallery of Art    
Still Life 
feature navigation Ambrosius Bosschaert, the Elder Luis Meléndez Raphaelle Peale   Previous Page Next page
Still Life    
       
Still Life with Figs 
and Bread by Luis Melendez
Luis Meléndez, Still Life with Figs and Bread, 1760s, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund 2000.6.1

 

After his expulsion Meléndez studied in Italy and then returned to Madrid to assist his father in decorating the royal choir books. We know little of his experiences from these years, and what led him to still life is not clear. After completing the choir books in 1759, however, Meléndez painted still life exclusively for the rest of his career.

Like many still-life artists, Meléndez painted what was close at hand. Objects from his own kitchen appear repeatedly in his work, arranged to create a contrast of textures. In this image, he assembled a smooth knife handle, leathery figs, bread, a wood-grained barrel, a shiny glass bottle, and a porous cooler made from cork.



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