Luis Melendez

Italy (Napoli 1716Madrid 1780 ) - Artworks Wikipedia® - Luis Melendez
MELENDEZ Luis A Still Life Of Quinces, Pears, A Plum, A Bunch Of Red Grapes, Green Grapes, A Terracotta Jug And A Ceramic Cup, All Arranged Upon A Table Top

Sotheby's /Jan 27, 2005
575,771.53 - 729,310.61
Not Sold

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Artworks in Arcadja
22

Some works of Luis Melendez

Extracted between 22 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Luis Melendez - Cheese, Apples And An Earthenware Jug

Luis Melendez - Cheese, Apples And An Earthenware Jug

Original
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Lot number: 643
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Lot Description Luis Meléndez (Naples 1716-1780 Madrid) Cheese, apples and an earthenware jug on a table signed with initials 'L.M' (lower centre) oil on canvas 15¾ x 13 7/8 in. (40 x 35.2 cm.) Provenance Acquired from Derek Johns by the present owner. Literature P. Cherry, Luis Meléndez, still-life painter, Madrid, 2006, pp. 448, 546, no. 108. View Lot Notes › Some of Meléndez's most beautiful pictures depict relatively few objects, as is the case in Cheese, apples and an earthenware jug on a table. Painted on a small canvas of similar size to the previous lot, but treated vertically rather than horizontally, the narrow confines of the vertical field are particularly challenging. This has resulted in Meléndez adopting a more pared down approach than in the previous picture. He compensates for the lack of lateral extension by emphasizing the vertical sides of the composition, which appear to close in on the elements, squeezing them forwards towards the viewer. On the left the pitcher with bowl above and apples below acts as a vertical repoussoir pushing our attention toward the centre of the picture while on the right the objects are cropped by the frame allowing no space between objects and edge. The composition is particularly elegant in its subtle balance of masses and voids which has the effect of concentrating the viewer's attention all the more intently on Meléndez's representational virtuosity of the few depicted objects. As in most of Meléndez's pictures the light falls from the upper left, highlighting in particular the inner rim of the porcelain bowl. In the bowl's precarious balance on the pitcher, a device found in many other canvases by the artist, a note of instability is introduced which further emphasizes the solidity of the heavy jug beneath. Again the artist draws attention to the imperfections and signs of human wear in objects such as the chipped rim of the pitcher, its lumpy surface, and the scratches in the wooden tabletop. Meanwhile an emphatic sense of fictive spatial recession is provided by the pseudo-orthogonal of the branch of golden apples, which leads the eye obliquely across and into the fictive picture space. The composition is anchored bottom right by a large segment of cheese, whose massive geometric solidity contrasts with the scrunched textile wrapper on which it sits. Its frayed edges catch the light as it curls across the table edge towards us, coyly revealing the artist's monogram in a patch of shadow on the inside. The cheese provides Meléndez with another excuse to put on a bravura display of his ability to render material texture in paint. One admires the masterly way in which he contrasts the pitted texture of the moist inner cheese with its drier outer edge and hard grey-brown rind. The wavy upper crust is a particular delight as its troughs and ridges stand accentuated by the raking light falling from above. Meléndez painted directly from the objects before the canvas, working from foreground to background, establishing the front edge of the table early on in the composition. He also painted in the surface of the table around the objects as the painting progressed, adding details such as the wood grain and nicks of wear towards the end of the process. As he progressed he would supplement the composition with secondary forms, such as the apples bisected by the edge of the canvas while other objects, usually kitchen utensils, which appear in the deeper planes of the picture might be studied from individual objects or copied from other pictures and inserted into the relevant place as needed. He then often added individual front foreground objects, such as the nuts seen in the previous lot, at a later stage in order to complement the compositional and chromatic balance. An x-ray of the painting reveals that in this case the artist made several significant changes to the composition in order to pare it down, thereby intensifying its general dramatic effect (fig. 1). Originally, for example, Meléndez painted more apples in the bottom left corner, while a shadow in the background right indicates that he also sketched in another kitchen object, which was rejected in the final composition as it would have diffused the focus of the painting and made it appear too cluttered. It also seems that the bowl sitting on top of the earthenware pitcher was originally painted as broken. Broken rustic bowls do appear in other compositions by Meléndez, but he changed his mind here in order to depict a smoother porcelain type bowl which acts as a satisfying visual foil to the pitted rustic earthenware jug; indeed it is the jug rather than the bowl that now appears damaged, with its chipped rim catching the light along its jagged edge. Meléndez frequently made such changes to his compositions, which reflect his uncompromising perfectionism in his pursuit of the perfectly balanced image. He also often changed the shape and size of objects in his pictures, adjusting their contours in order to calibrate their precise proportions and modifying their formal relationships with each other. In this respect his pictures function rather like a musical composition, each with its unique formal rythmn and compositional harmony. Cheese, apples and an earthenware jug on a table is a distinctive and compelling example of the aesthetic satisfactions found in Meléndez's best works. Small in size but monumental in scale it has a satisfying abstract quality. With its interplay of different objects, shapes, colours, dimensions and textures, it explores the power of physical appearances in every bit as dramatic a way as Picasso's essay on a similar theme, Still Life with Jug and Apples, painted about 150 years later (fig. 2; 1919, Musée Picasso, Paris).
Luis Melendez - Still Life With Peaches, Pears And Grapes

Luis Melendez - Still Life With Peaches, Pears And Grapes

Original
Estimate:

Price: Not disclosed
Lot number: 115
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Description:
LOT 115 LUIS MELÉNDEZ NAPLES 1716 - 1780 MADRID STILL LIFE WITH PEACHES, PEARS AND GRAPES oil on canvas 200,000—300,000 USD 14 1/4 by 19 1/4 in.; 36.2 by 48.9 cm. PROVENANCE Private Collection, Spain;With Derek Johns, Ltd., London;Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, January 27, 2005, lot 197(unsold at an estimate of $750,000 - 950,000). EXHIBITED Stockholm, National Museum, Fran El Greco till Dali, Dialog medspanskt maleri, February 27 - May 18, 2003. LITERATURE AND REFERENCES P. Cherry, Luis Meléndez, Still Life Painter, Madrid 2006, p.508, reproduced, p. 548, cat. no. 128. CATALOGUE NOTE This is a relatively early work by the greatest Spanish stilllife painter of the 18th century, Luis Meléndez. It can be datedcirca 1765, when in the absence of continued Royal patronage theartist turned to still life painting in order to make a living.Although an early work, it is painted entirely within the artist'sown personal and distinctive style and bears all of thecharacteristics for which Meléndez is today ranked among the fineststill life painters of the 18th century.Meléndez's earliest still lifes can be dated circa 1759-60, andtheir production appears to have been the result of a series ofevents during the artist's early years. Having trained under hisfather Francisco Antonio Meléndez (1682 - 1752), Luis became one ofthe first students to join the Royal Academy of Painting in Madrid,which was founded in 1744 and would later become the Academia deBellas Artes de San Fernando (in 1753). He rapidly excelled indrawing and his prodigious talent is clearly demonstrated in hisremarkably assured Self-Portrait of 1746, today in the Musée duLouvre, Paris (see E. Tufts, Luis Meléndez, Columbia 1985, p. 151,reproduced plate 1). Following a quarrel between his father and thedirector of the Academy, Giovanni Domenico Olivieri, on 15th June1748 however, Luis was expelled from the Academy and as a resulttravelled to Rome to complete his artistic training. In 1753 hereturned to Madrid to assist in a Royal commission to illuminate anew set of choir books for the Royal Chapel, to replace those lostin the fire of the Alcazar in 1734. On completion of the commissionfor King Charles III, Meléndez made a number of petitions forfurther work at the court, but on each occasion was turned down,probably on account of the Royal court's pressing requirement forpainters working as large-scale decorators to adorn the walls ofthe new Palacio Real (such as Corrado Giaquinto), as well asestablished portrait painters to commemorate the accession ofCharles III in 1759. In the absence of further work at court,Meléndez turned to still life painting, his remarkable talent forwhich had already been alluded to in his exquisite treatment ofinanimate objects in his illuminated choir books. The composition of the present work is dominated by the pile ofpears, their volumetric forms rendered with subtle shifts of colorand light, which both define the forms of the objects and describethe texture of their surfaces. The artist's fascination with thejuxtaposition of textures (reminiscent of the work of the greatDiego de Silva y Velazquez) is manifested in the inclusion in thecorners of the foreground of the ceramic pot and plum, and theterracotta jug in the left background, which each provide differingsurfaces to reveal the full range of the artist's skill andrepertoire. The harmonious and balanced coloring of the scene isachieved through the interspersal among the mass of orange peachesof the soft green tones of the pears, which are configured to drawthe eye across the entire composition, and thereby animate thescene. This is a relatively early work by the greatest Spanish stilllife painter of the 18th century, Luis Meléndez. It can be datedcirca 1765, when in the absence of continued Royal patronage theartist turned to still life painting in order to make a living.Although an early work, it is painted entirely within the artist'sown personal and distinctive style and bears all of thecharacteristics for which Meléndez is today ranked among the fineststill life painters of the 18th century.Meléndez's earliest still lifes can be dated circa 1759-60, andtheir production appears to have been the result of a series ofevents during the artist's early years. Having trained under hisfather Francisco Antonio Meléndez (1682 - 1752), Luis became one ofthe first students to join the Royal Academy of Painting in Madrid,which was founded in 1744 and would later become the Academia deBellas Artes de San Fernando (in 1753). He rapidly excelled indrawing and his prodigious talent is clearly demonstrated in hisremarkably assured Self-Portrait of 1746, today in the Musée duLouvre, Paris (see E. Tufts, Luis Meléndez, Columbia 1985, p. 151,reproduced plate 1). Following a quarrel between his father and thedirector of the Academy, Giovanni Domenico Olivieri, on 15th June1748 however, Luis was expelled from the Academy and as a resulttravelled to Rome to complete his artistic training. In 1753 hereturned to Madrid to assist in a Royal commission to illuminate anew set of choir books for the Royal Chapel, to replace those lostin the fire of the Alcazar in 1734. On completion of the commissionfor King Charles III, Meléndez made a number of petitions forfurther work at the court, but on each occasion was turned down,probably on account of the Royal court's pressing requirement forpainters working as large-scale decorators to adorn the walls ofthe new Palacio Real (such as Corrado Giaquinto), as well asestablished portrait painters to commemorate the accession ofCharles III in 1759. In the absence of further work at court,Meléndez turned to still life painting, his remarkable talent forwhich had already been alluded to in his exquisite treatment ofinanimate objects in his illuminated choir books. The composition of the present work is dominated by the pile ofpears, their volumetric forms rendered with subtle shifts of colorand light, which both define the forms of the objects and describethe texture of their surfaces. The artist's fascination with thejuxtaposition of textures (reminiscent of the work of the greatDiego de Silva y Velazquez) is manifested in the inclusion in thecorners of the foreground of the ceramic pot and plum, and theterracotta jug in the left background, which each provide differingsurfaces to reveal the full range of the artist's skill andrepertoire. The harmonious and balanced coloring of the scene isachieved through the interspersal among the mass of orange peachesof the soft green tones of the pears, which are configured to drawthe eye across the entire composition, and thereby animate thescene.
Luis Melendez - Still Life With Tomatoes, A Bowl Of Aubergines And Onions

Luis Melendez - Still Life With Tomatoes, A Bowl Of Aubergines And Onions

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 197
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
LOT 197 LUIS MELÉNDEZ NAPLES 1716 - 1780 MADRID STILL LIFE WITH TOMATOES, A BOWL OF AUBERGINES AND ONIONS oil on canvas 1,500,000—2,000,000 USD 14 1/4 by 19 1/4 in.; 36.8 by 49 cm. PROVENANCE Private collection, Spain;With Derek Johns, London, by 2004. EXHIBITED Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, Luis Meléndez, Bodegones, 17February-16 May 2004, cat. no. 13;Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Luis Meléndez, Still Lifes, 16June-5 September 2004, cat. no. 14;Washington, National Gallery of Art; Los Angeles, Los AngelesCounty Museum of Art; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; Luis Meléndez,Master of the Spanish Still Life, May 2009-May 2010, cat. no.30. LITERATURE AND REFERENCES P. Cherry and J.J. Luna, Luis Meléndez, Bodegones, exhibitioncatalogue, Madrid 2004, p.180, cat. no. 13, reproduced p.181;P. Cherry and J.J. Luna, Luis Meléndez, Still Lifes, exhibitioncatalogue, Dublin 2004, p.108, cat. no. 14, reproduced p.109;P. Cherry, Luis Meléndez, Still-Life Painter, Madrid 2006, pp.548-549, cat. 129, reproduced p. 509;P. Cherry in, Luis Meléndez, Master of the Spanish Still Life,exhibition catalogue, Washington, D.C. 2009, p. 160, cat. no. 30,reproduced p. 161 and frontispiece (details). CATALOGUE NOTE The present work, with its glowing red tomatoes and justripening aubergines artfully arranged on a sunlit table, suggestsnothing so much as a meal to be eaten on a warm summer's day. Thesubject, as is generally the case with Melendez, is ordinary fare,not food for a banquet, set directly on a plain wooden table or inrough Alcorcón pottery. The painting displays the artful simplicitythat characterizes Melendez's work and is so appealing to themodern viewer, raised on the beautifully constructed compositionsof Cezanne and Matisse. Melendez's ambition was to be a figure painter, but that avenuewas sealed off when he and his father were expelled from theProvisional Academy of Arts in 1748. Instead he became a miniaturepainter, following in his father's footsteps, and also turned towhat was considered the minor genre of still life. Still lifepainting in Spain had virtually disappeared between the end of theseventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Whatinterest there was in the subject was satisfied by importingpictures and sometimes the artists themselves from Italy. Melendezlived in Rome and Naples from 1748 to 1752 and was exposed tocomtemporary still lifes and well as the work of the famous artistsof the preceding century. The Neapolitan Giacomo Nani (1698-1770),whose still lifes show a similar simplicity and concentration onmundane food stuffs and table ware, is often cited as an influenceon him. However in the end, Melendez's originality and skill set himapart from his contemporaries in Spain and Italy. Despite thehumble nature of the objects portrayed, his still lifes have aremarkable grandeur and monumentality. Here in the Still Lifewith Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines and Onions , as in most ofhis paintings, he chooses a low vantage point and sets the objectsvery close to the picture plane. He arranges a line of tomatoes inthe foreground with a single, tiny aubergine in front of them,jutting slightly over the edge of the table. Behind is a bowl ofaubergines with a few white onions and a single tomato, partlyhidden, adding color to the grouping and leading our eye furtherinto the picture. The exact placement of the objects is crucial andcarefully calibrated. Cherry notes that as Melendez worked on thepainting, he extended the left edge of the bowl and added thesmallest tomato at the far left, in order to balance thecomposition in terms of both color and depth.1 But it isthe tomatoes themselves that dominate the picture. Melendez paintsthem from every direction, so we can see the wonderful, sculpturalcurves and ridges, and how The present work, with its glowing red tomatoes and justripening aubergines artfully arranged on a sunlit table, suggestsnothing so much as a meal to be eaten on a warm summer's day. Thesubject, as is generally the case with Melendez, is ordinary fare,not food for a banquet, set directly on a plain wooden table or inrough Alcorcón pottery. The painting displays the artful simplicitythat characterizes Melendez's work and is so appealing to themodern viewer, raised on the beautifully constructed compositionsof Cezanne and Matisse. Melendez's ambition was to be a figure painter, but that avenuewas sealed off when he and his father were expelled from theProvisional Academy of Arts in 1748. Instead he became a miniaturepainter, following in his father's footsteps, and also turned towhat was considered the minor genre of still life. Still lifepainting in Spain had virtually disappeared between the end of theseventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Whatinterest there was in the subject was satisfied by importingpictures and sometimes the artists themselves from Italy. Melendezlived in Rome and Naples from 1748 to 1752 and was exposed tocomtemporary still lifes and well as the work of the famous artistsof the preceding century. The Neapolitan Giacomo Nani (1698-1770),whose still lifes show a similar simplicity and concentration onmundane food stuffs and table ware, is often cited as an influenceon him. However in the end, Melendez's originality and skill set himapart from his contemporaries in Spain and Italy. Despite thehumble nature of the objects portrayed, his still lifes have aremarkable grandeur and monumentality. Here in the Still Lifewith Tomatoes, a Bowl of Aubergines and Onions , as in most ofhis paintings, he chooses a low vantage point and sets the objectsvery close to the picture plane. He arranges a line of tomatoes inthe foreground with a single, tiny aubergine in front of them,jutting slightly over the edge of the table. Behind is a bowl ofaubergines with a few white onions and a single tomato, partlyhidden, adding color to the grouping and leading our eye furtherinto the picture. The exact placement of the objects is crucial andcarefully calibrated. Cherry notes that as Melendez worked on thepainting, he extended the left edge of the bowl and added thesmallest tomato at the far left, in order to balance thecomposition in terms of both color and depth.1 But it isthe tomatoes themselves that dominate the picture. Melendez paintsthem from every direction, so we can see the wonderful, sculpturalcurves and ridges, and how the segments bulge out and then curveback in toward the stems. He differentiates their smooth surfacesfrom the rough green capsule of the aubergine and the curling rootsof the onions, and paints them in such rich, orange-red hues thatwe can nearly smell their ripeness. 1. P. Cherry 2009, Op. cit.
Luis Melendez - A Still Life Of Quinces, Pears, A Plum, A Bunch Of Red Grapes, Green Grapes, A Terracotta Jug And A Ceramic Cup, All Arranged Upon A Table Top

Luis Melendez - A Still Life Of Quinces, Pears, A Plum, A Bunch Of Red Grapes, Green Grapes, A Terracotta Jug And A Ceramic Cup, All Arranged Upon A Table Top

Original 1765
Estimate:

Price:

Lot number: 197
Other WORKS AT AUCTION
Description:
oil on canvas EXHIBITED Stockholm, National Museum, Fran El Greco till Dali, Dialog med spanskt maleri , 27 February - 18 May 2003. CATALOGUE NOTE This is a relatively early work by the greatest Spanish still life painter of the 18th century, Luis Melendez. It can be dated circa 1765, when in the absence of continued Royal patronage the artist turned to still life painting in order to make a living. Although an early work , it is painted entirely within the artist's own personal and distinctive style and bears all of the characteristics for which Melendez is today ranked among the finest still life painters of the 18th century. Melendez's earliest still lifes can be dated circa 1759-60, and their production appears to have been the result of a series of events during the artist's early years. Having trained under his father Francisco Antonio Melendez (1682 - 1752), Luis became one of the first students to join the Royal Academy of Painting in Madrid, which was founded in 1744 and would later become the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (in 1753). He rapidly excelled in drawing and his prodigious talent is clearly demonstrated in his remarkably assured Self-Portrait of 1746, today in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (see E. Tufts, Luis Melendez , Columbia 1985, p. 151, reproduced plate 1). Following a quarrel between his father and the director of the Academy, Giovanni Domenico Olivieri, on 15th June 1748 however, Luis was expelled from the Academy and as a result travelled to Rome to complete his artistic training. In 1753 he returned to Madrid to assist in a Royal commission to illuminate a new set of choir books for the Royal Chapel, to replace those lost in the fire of the Alcazar in 1734. On completion of the commission for King Charles III, Melendez made a number of petitions for further work at the court, but on each occasion was turned down, probably on account of the Royal court's pressing requirement for painters working as large-scale decorators to adorn the walls of the new Palacio Real (such as Corrado Giaquinto), as well as established portrait painters to commemorate the accession of Charles III in 1759. In the absence of further work at court Melendez turned to still life painting, his remarkable talent for which had already been alluded to in his exquisite treatment of inanimate objects in his illuminated choir books. The composition of the present work is dominated by the pile of quinces and pears, their volumetric forms rendered with subtle shifts of color and light, which at once define the forms of the objects and the texture of their surfaces. The artist's fascination with the juxtaposition of textures (reminiscent of the work of the great Diego de Silva y Velazquez) is manifested in the inclusion in the corners of the foreground of the ceramic pot and plum, and the terracotta jug in the left background, which each provide differing surfaces to reveal the full range of the artist's skill and repertoire. The harmonious and balanced coloring of the scene is achieved through the interspersal among the mass of orange quinces of the soft green tones of the pears, which are configured to draw the eye across the entire composition, and thereby animate the scene. The attribution to Luis Melendez has been endorsed, following first hand inspection, by Dr. Peter Cherry. He dates the painting circa 1765 and will be including it in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the artist.
Luis Melendez - Arbutus Berries On A Plate, Apples, A Wood Barrel And Bread Rollson A Wooden Table

Luis Melendez - Arbutus Berries On A Plate, Apples, A Wood Barrel And Bread Rollson A Wooden Table

Original
Estimate:

Price:

Gross Price
Lot number: 83
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Description:
Luis Egidio Meléndez (Naples 1716-1780 Madrid) Arbutus berries on a plate, apples, a wood barrel and bread rollson a wooden table signed with initials 'L.M.z' (lower right) oil on canvas 14¼ x 19 in. (35.5 x 48.5 cm.) PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PHOEBE COWLES Provenance with Duits Gallery, London, 1943. Dr. and Mrs. Francis Springell, Portinscale, Cumberland, England,(+); Sotheby's, London, 10 December 1986, lot 46 (£457,150 toSpeelman). with E. Speelman, London, 1987, from whom purchased by the presentowner. Literature C. Connoly, 'A stroll through Rococoland', in Art News, February1955, p. 71, illustrated. Illustrated in Goya, May-June 1955, no. 388. J.A. Gaya Nuño, La Pintura de Española fuera de España, Madrid,1958, p. 235, no. 1779. E. Tufts, A Stylistic Study of the Paintings of Luis Meléndez,Ph.D. Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, 1971, pp. 190-1,fig. 68. E.M. Tufts, 'Luis Meléndez, Documents on his life and works', inThe Art Bulletin, March 1972, pp. 63-68. P. Gassier, 'De Greco a Goya', in L'Oeil, November 1981, p.90. E. Young, 'El Greco to Goya: The taste for Spanish paintings inBritain and Ireland', in The Connoisseur, 208, November 1981, p.168. J. Luna, Luis Meléndez: Bodegonista Español del Siglo XVIII, PradoMuseum, Madrid, 1982, p. 30. E. Tufts, Luis Meléndez, Portinscale, 1985, p. 105, no. 85, pl.85. Exhibited London, Royal Academy, European Masters of the EighteenthCentury, 1654-55, p. 39, no. 345. London, National Gallery, El Greco to Goya, 1981, pp. 98-9, no. 60,fig. 112). Lot Notes The son and pupil of the portrait miniaturist Francisco AntonioMeléndez, Luis (fig. 1) was born in Naples, but moved to Madridwhere he became assistant to Louis-Michel van Loo, court painter toKing Philip V. He was one of the first students to be accepted intothe new, provisional Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.After another stay in Naples, he returned to Madrid to assist on acommission to paint choir-books for the new Royal Chapel. It was inthe 1760s that Luis became a specialist in painting still lifes, ofwhich about one hundred survive. Forty-five of these were used todecorate the walls of the Palacio Real in Aranjuez, the King'ssummer residence outside Madrid. Employing a style that looked to both Neapolitan still-lifepainting and the work of the 17th Century Spanish pioneers in thegenre, such as Francisco de Zurbarán and Juan Sánchez Cotán,Meléndez to a greater degree than anyone before him, emphasized inhis work the solidity and texture of the fruit, vegetables andobjects that he chose to depict, usually setting his compositionsagainst a dark or neutral background and modelled by a strong,almost Caravaggesque, light. These still lifes are often arrangedon wooden tables, and Meléndez delights in showing the nicks of thetable's edge and the knots on it's wooden surface which aredelineated in a dark color and highlighted by touches of lightbrown impasto. In this he differs from the other great Europeanartists of the time specializing in still life, such as Jean-SiméonChardin, who concentrated more on the decorative surface of apicture, employing a lighter and wider range of palette. Hisacutely observed play of light and shadow, powerfully modelledforms and beautiful (if seemingly random) placement of objectsserve to bind together his compositions into a balanced, harmoniouswhole, of unprecedented monumentality. In the 1995 Spanish Still Life exhibition at the National Gallery,London, Dr. William B. Jordan and Dr. Peter Cherry write thatMeléndez 'made use of things he owned, often repeating theseobjects in different contexts' (Spanish Still Life from Velázquezto Goya, National Gallery, London, 1995, pp. 156-7). Thus, forexample, in the present work, the dish on which the arbutus berriesappear is repeated in other compositions such as the Still lifewith fruit, cheese and containers in the Prado, Madrid (see W.B.Jordan and P. Cherry, op.cit., p. 158, no. 56, illustrated), and inthe still life sold, Christie's, London, 10 December 2003, lot 70(£1,125,250 = $1,935,430). An almost identical olive barrel can beseen in his Still life of plums, figs, bread and several vessels,also in the Prado, Madrid. Meléndez, like his 17th Century predecessors, was alsoextraordinarily inventive at rearranging the basic repertory offorms in his paintings. Thus, certain objects in the present workreappear in different guises and different shapes in otherpaintings of his - the bread roll in particular must have been afavorite motif, as it recurs several times, often as a tour deforce of realism. In the present work, the bread roll extendsforward over the table's edge, jutting out of the picture plane,creating a strong diagonal and acting as a repoussoir within thecomposition. Meléndez uses the same compositional device in hisStill life of meat, earthenware dishes, copper kettle and bread,private collection, Germany (see E.M. Tufts, Luis Meléndez: SpanishStill-Life Painter of the Eighteenth Century, Dallas, Texas,Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, January-September1985, p. 19, illustrated), and in the Still life with jug, breadand basket in the Prado, Madrid (ibid., p. 70, no. 9). It is highly likely that Goya may have studied Meléndez'sbodegones, either in the Royal collections or in any of the privatehouses he frequented. Given the insular artistic milieu in Madrid,he may even have known Meléndez, who died there, impoverished, in1780. Certainly, many elements in Meléndez's paintings can be foundin Goya's still lifes, even though they were radically transformedby Goya's very personal style. As far as we know, Goya only paintedtwelve still lifes, all of which date from the period 1808-12, whenthe artist was over sixty years old. As noted by W.B. Jordan and P.Cherry in the 1995 Spanish Still Life exhibition, these paintings'represent a rupture with tradition as abrupt and shocking as thatproduced by any aspect of his work' (op.cit., p.175). As differentas Goya's still lifes are from those of Meléndez in theirexpressiveness, the rigorous structural sense of their compositionsand their chromatic richness reflect the legacy of the earlierartist, whose forty-five still lifes, painted for Charles III andhanging at Aranjuez, Goya must have seen. Like Meléndez, Goya used neutral backgrounds. However, Goya'sportrayal of nature is altogether different, more threatening andsinister. All but one of Goya's still lifes represent dead animals,and they represent physical manifestations of his preoccupationwith violence and death (see, for example, the Still life of deadhares sold in these Rooms, 24 January 2003, lot 136 ($5,069,500).Meléndez, on the other hand, paints mostly inanimate objects,revealing instead their every detail in a coherent andscientifically valid manner, striving for an authentic sense ofverisimilitude that is both static and solemn. However, in bothartists there is a level of expressive intensity and obsessivenessthat anticipates the work of artists such as Courbet and Cézanne inthe 19th Century and Matisse, Picasso, and Braque in the 20thCentury. In Picasso's Pitcher, candle, casserole of 1945 in theMusée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (fig.2), one can see the same sense of dignity and austerity that isdistinctly reminiscent of Meléndez in its restraint and orderedcomposition. Picasso said of his own work at this time 'The objectsthat go into my paintings are common objects from anywhere. I wantto tell something by means of the most common object; for example,a casserole, any old casserole, the one everybody knows. For me itis a vessel in the metaphoric sense, just like Christ's use ofparables'. Picasso could have been refering to a Meléndez stilllife, and in the present paining it is tempting to see the breadroll as a premonition of The Last Supper. Dr. Cherry will include the present painting in his forthcomingcatalogue raisonné of the artist's work.
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