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Still life with plums - Luis Melendez. 62 x 41 cm.
Outwardly, a very simple still life is fraught with many difficulties for the artist. It is important not only to convey the size and shape, volume of objects, but also their specific features, for example, gloss, dullness, texture, density and so on. It is especially difficult to do this with fruits, vegetables and berries. With a lack of skill in the artist, they turn out to be unnatural, “plastic”. Melendez never had such a flaw - all of his still lifes are extremely realistic.
The picture with the plums seems unpretentious, but after looking closely, it becomes clear that the master has done a great job here. He set himself a difficult task, which he successfully completed. He had to depict a lot of dark-colored plums on a saturated background, and also to transmit several completely different textures: the surface of plums, figs, branches, leaves, a wooden tabletop, simple rough fabric and homemade bread lying on it. At the same time, he needed to take into account the lighting and qualitatively convey the volume of all elements.
Judging by the fact that the painting is in the famous Prado Museum and still actively attracts the attention of visitors, the artist masterfully coped with his task. Indeed, the plums on the canvas impress with their volume and density, the branches of a tree with leaves seem to have just faded due to the heat, and the bread seems to emit an aroma, as if it had recently been pulled out of the oven.
The background of the picture is neutral, dark, matte, therefore, it looks especially advantageous when it is covered with a bluish bloom, liquid blue plums. They are in a picture of two sizes: the dish is filled with large juicy fruits, and on the branches stuck in a pile of plums, small fruits hang, more reminiscent of ripe olives. Nearby on a simple, even rough wooden countertop lies a ripe black fig.
Echoing with highlights on large plums, on the corner of the table, on a several-fold napkin made of simple fabric, there are several homemade crescent-shaped loaves of bread. They have a pleasant golden tint and perfectly set off the overall dark deep color range of the canvas.