“Still Life with Oysters”, Luis Melendez – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Still life with oysters – Luis Melendez. 1772. Oil on canvas. 40 one x sixty two cm.

   Anyone who believed that this outstanding and very underestimated by his contemporaries painter did a tremendous job with the image of fruits and vegetables, obviously not all his work was seen. He turned out to be a unique specialist in the transfer of various textures. In this picture, he was faced with a very difficult task, because apart from the usual wood, iron and clay surfaces, he had to portray matte, porous egg shells, fluid oozing slippery oysters and their shells coarse on the outside and mother-of-pearl, rounded, delicate from the inside.

   Exceptional mastery of the artist helped him successfully solve all the tasks. In the picture, against the background of a bulky table of an old, cracked tree species, ordinary everyday objects are located. This is a solid clay jug standing in the back of the composition, with a wood spoon sticking out of its neck. The hole in it is covered by a huge clay shard. The jug is black, almost dull and slightly visible against the background of the same black, devoid of glitter and wall ornaments. But the master managed to make sure that the dishes did not lose their own volume and correctly “read” against the background of the wall.

   The largest item is a golden-colored iron brass tub, which stands slightly sideways because it is placed on an inverted small bowl of ordinary clay. The product attracts attention with its brilliance and color; large copper rivets are perfectly visible against its background.

   Another fundamental detail is an ancient chipped plate made of snow-white ceramics with a narrow blue border. There are spotless snow-white testicles in it, whose surface seems to be simply luminous due to the light incident on them.

   The main part of the composition by which it was named is oysters. They are scattered throughout the canvas, their shells shimmer, and the contents look very natural and juicy.

   The natural color palette and masterful transfer of textures make these paintings very pleasing to the eye – they are always eager to look at them, revealing immediately unnoticed details."