Luis Egidio Meléndez (or Menéndez) (Spanish, 1716–1780)
Oil on canvas
40 1/2 x 60 1/2 in. (105.4 x 153.7 cm)
Inscribed (lower right): 255.M.de.R. [inventory number]
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.39)
Luis Meléndez, who trained in Madrid with his father, and later in Rome and Naples, began to focus exclusively on still-life painting in the 1760s. His best known works are small in scale and typically depict fruit, bread, and a few simple kitchen utensils set against a neutral background. Through an emphasis on formal geometry, light, and texture, Meléndez invests these sober pictures with an earthiness and sense of vivid presence that is characteristic of the Spanish still-life tradition.
The present picture is one of a small group of larger still lifes in landscape settings that Meléndez painted toward the end of his life. These pictures are more open and buoyant in expression, suggesting the abundance of nature and, in this particular work, the pleasure of a meal enjoyed in the countryside.