Friday, February 5, 2010

Luis Melendez at the MFA

I stopped off at the MFA yesterday to see the Luis Melendez exhibition that just opened.  I didn't know a thing about the artist until I first read about him in the morning before heading out of the door.  From my research, I learned that he is highly regarded for his still life paintings.  What drew me to the show in the first place were the pictures the MFA advertised of his food paintings.  I figured that any artist who is as obsessed with food and wine as me would be someone whose works I would like to know more about.

The show was a real treat.  It started at the National Gallery in DC, and is on display here in Boston for a few months.  Melendez aspired to be a court artist for the Spanish royalty in the 18th century, but instead was recognized by the Prince for his skill in rendering food and culinary implements.  He painted the same objects and foods over and over again, and as you can imagine, became very good at it.  You can even see some of the original implements on display at the MFA.  The prince commissioned him to paint a series of the indigenous foods of Spain, which in turn defined Melendez's output from that point on.  There were even a few still-lifes that had been painted over portraits that he never managed to sell.

Sadly, Melendez died a pauper like so many other greats, but we can all enjoy his works now.  He does a good job at making the food look very appetizing and realistic.  I wish I had more of an eye and appreciation for composition, because the placards for the paintings all made a really big deal out of what a master Melendez is in this department.  Even so, I think just about anyone can enjoy how beautiful these paintings are.  Below are two that I was especially taken with.  Enjoy!


  1. how long will the exhibit be at the MFA?

  2. it will show through may 9. you can get more details at the mfa's website.