Luis Eugenio Meléndez or Luis Egidio Meléndez (* 1716 in Naples; † 11 July 1780 in Madrid) was a Spanish painter of still lifes. He was the pupil of Louis-Michel van Loo (1707-1771).
Although he received little recognition during his lifetime and died in poverty, Meléndez is considered the greatest Spanish still-life painter of the 18th century. His mastery of composition and light, as well as his remarkable ability to convey the volume and texture of individual objects, enabled him to transform the most mundane cuisine into powerful images.
He belonged to a family of painters, but his promising career in figure painting ran aground after his father's dispute with the Academy in Madrid. He applied twice to the king to become a court painter, but he was not given an official post.
Luis Egidio Meléndez de Rivera Durazo and Santo Padre was born in the Spanish dominion of Naples. His family moved to Spain soon after. His father, uncle, brother and two sisters were all painters. His father Francisco was instrumental in founding the Royal Academy in Madrid in 1744, and his son's self-portrait of 1746 shows him there as a promising student. After a dispute, both father and son were expelled from the Academy and turned to miniature painting in the 1750s.
The series of about 100 still lifes, dates from the last twenty years of his life. Often planned in pairs, they range from large compositions, sometimes including landscapes, as in Flemish and Neapolitan still lifes, to smaller and more intense paintings, usually in vertical form and which are also typically Spanish.
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87 | Still Life with Oranges and Walnuts (Stillleben mit Orangen und Walnüssen), 1772
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