Seeing Still Life from a Different Angle

The Master Among Still Life Artists

Still Life Painting | Still Life Artists | Luis Melendez | Artist Daily

Still Life with Melon and Pears by Luis Meléndez, oil on canvas, 18th century.

It’s quite sad that 18th-century painter Luis Egidio Meléndez died poor and relatively unknown. Yet, he is now recognized as one, if not the, greatest still life artists of his day.

His style and approach for his still life art breathed new life into a genre that was already well established. And, most importantly, he did things differently when it came to composing his works. All of which solidify his standing as one of Spain’s greatest artists.

Studying His Still Life Paintings

Meléndez did not in any way scorn the achievements or focus of the still life artists that preceded him. Like Zurbaran and Juan Sanchez Cotan, he knew how to present light effects, texture and color of the objects in his paintings of still life.

What he did do differently was bring those sumptuous fruits, glistening glassware, glimmering copper pots and crusty bread closer to the viewer in the picture plane. Meléndez dropped his vantage point as well, allowing the viewer to peruse the objects from a slightly elevated angle.

These are small modifications and yet they give the viewer a better look at the objects by more fully turning them to the light. The details of texture and light Meléndez adds to the surfaces of the objects makes it seem like they are being held in the viewer’s own hands.

Still Life Painting | Still Life Artists | Luis Melendez | Artist Daily
Still Life with Figs and Plums by Luis Meléndez, oil painting

The result is everyday objects presented in a monumental way, reinforcing the joy of sight that must have provoked the artist to pursue still life painting with such rigor.

More Still life Inspiration

Check out this teaser trailer below for Alain Picard’s video workshop, Capturing Light and Form: Still Life in Pastel, for more still life inspiration and a few technique you can start using today in your own art. Enjoy!

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