A Very Different Kind of Natural Art

Luis Melendez – Master of the Spanish Still Life

Inspiration for NaturalArt can be found in amazing and unusual places, such as in this book about the 18th Century still life artist Luis Melendez.

The book is very interesting to read and shows close up details of the paint application. It describes his method of working and a bit about his life.  It also shows x rays of the paintings which reveal sometimes amazing portraits and other still life paintings beneath the surface. Lead paint was used in those days and would have made this method of examination possible.

I found many interesting things to wonder about such as the fact that bitumen was used to darken some areas of paintings.  Also that sometimes the artist used very rough canvas fabric and used some kind of unidentified primer to fill the holes.  Sometimes the motifs were repeated in several paintings with different compositions and given that photography hadn’t been invented then he must’ve had to trace them somehow.

Much of the subject matter was every day utensils and food that would’ve been found in his own kitchen and somehow I found this fascinating too.

Of course as an artist I very much enjoyed seeing the exquisite pictures and wondering about what life must’ve been like for this olden day artist, how he made or selected his materials and how different his life would’ve been to my own.

I acknowledge the writers of the book and National Gallery of Art Washington.