“Still life with a plate of cherries, fruits and cheese”, Luis Melendez – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

Still life with a plate of cherries, fruits and cheese – Luis Melendez. 1771. Oil on canvas. 40 one x sixty two cm

   The painter made 40 four still lifes, any of which became classics in his own genre. This picture is no exception – the usual staged still life, which mixes a huge number of objects with different textures and features of shape and color.

   In the background are large items suitable for the kitchen since. This is a small wooden barrel, other containers made of wood, two cans tied with cardboard lids, in which there may be honey or homemade jam.

   In the center of the composition is a large thin damask with rich reddish wine, a bottle with a small neck is closed with a cork stopper. The frontal plan is a large head of home-made cheese of an unusual form for a modern person, a plate with light cherries with funny little “tails” and three large fruits – a liquid apple, pear and ripe yellow quince. All these items are on a regular wood tabletop made of solid wood.

   All together, this could become the basis of an ordinary, but very tasty and healthy breakfast in a rustic style. But for the artist, this is a method to show his skill in transferring several different textures to a meeting. Wood, clay, glass, waxed paper, soft and flexible texture of cheese, gloss of cherries and thickened pulp of fruits – all this together practically makes the elements of this still life real, tangible.

   The picture uses natural, natural colors, because the color palette of the canvas is rich, different, but not flashy. The objects are illuminated by the oblique rays of the sun, therefore light glare plays on them, and shadows lie on the planes, giving the image even more realism and volume.

   The composition is “dense”, all objects on it are depicted close to each other, therefore they throw color reflexes at each other. This can be seen on the head of the cheese – it has a bright highlight from the snow-white plate, and cherries also make a color stain on the black background of the glass damask.

   This work of art decorates the walls of the Prado Museum, showing descendants the skill of its own creator."