Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Melendez Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Luis Egidio Melendez
Still Life with Cucumbers and Tomatoes, Luis Egidio Meléndez

The Prado website has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image. (Click the image and look for the download icon at the lower right. Click “Uso personal” and then “Descargar Imagen”.) There is also a downloadable file on Wikimedia Commons, though it is sonewhat smaller.

It’s that time of year here in the Mid-Atlantic coast of the US when the work we’ve put into our gardens pays us back with a bounty of vegetables that are not only delicious, but beautiful to look at.

Here, 18th century Spanish still life master Luis Meléndez celebrates the simple beauty of such a harvest, with a table full of beautiful green cucumbers, their bumpy texture almost palpable, and wonderfully gnarly tomatoes, set against crockery rendered with his signature attention to surface characteristics.

I love the way Meléndez has handled highlights here, with seemingly casual wavy streaks along the cucumbers and quickly noted touches on the tomatoes, matched in simplicity by the highlights on the crockery and metal.