Meléndez Paints Oranges and Entropy

The Getty Museum has put on view Luis Meléndez's Oranges, Nuts, Spices, Boxes of Sweetmeats, a Jug, and a Cask on a Table (1760s), a loan from the Frederick Iseman Art Trust. It was auctioned by Christies in 2012.

The Norton Simon Museum's great Zurbarán still-life, also involving oranges, is symmetrical, mystical, and eternal. The Meléndez is the opposite: crowded, chaotic, worn, flawed. Still lifes speak of passing time, and for Meléndez time has run out.


Anonymous said…
That work looks like it was cropped by accident. Why the artist didn't want his image to breathe a bit is puzzling. He's like a mathematician who makes a mistake of thinking 2 + 2 = 5.
Luce said…
.........last time I looked with my painting class - the Norton Simon's Zubaran still life - is three lemons, not three oranges. Great, great painting. .....and I completely agree with your main point that the Zubaran is Spanish mysticism at it's best.
The Zurburán has both lemons and oranges (according to the NSM's title). The "lemons" are believed by some to be citrons, a related fruit that can look like a large lemon.