Sunny and sultry Spain has given the world not only famous portrait painters. But, as often happens in an artistic environment, a full appreciation of the master's pictorial gift was not appreciated properly during his lifetime. The result was Melendez's constant pursuit of poverty and lack of demand. We can say that during his life the artist did not find the recognition that he deserved. Today, most of the surviving paintings of the master are stored in one of the most famous and popular museums in Spain - the Prado.
A talented artist was born in 1716 in Naples. His family was directly related to the world of art, so painting, as they say, was in the boy's blood. His father was a miniature artist, and his uncle, his father's brother, was a portrait painter. The latter was more fortunate in terms of career - he became a court painter and lived in the capital of the country, in Madrid. The father of the future master moved to Naples, which was then part of the Spanish territories. There he found his love, in this city and Luis was born, but still in infancy he returned with his parents to his homeland.
At first, the boy studied painting with his father, and then got into the studio to van Loo, who was then very popular. It is not surprising that at the beginning of his artistic career, the work of Melendez was strongly influenced by the style of van Loo, because for many years he copied his work for representatives of the nobility and courtiers.
With the opening of the Madrid Royal Academy of Arts of San Fernando, both the teacher and his talented student got into the governing bodies of this educational institution. The specialization of Melendez in still lifes was not considered by the Spanish artists as “low” genre, as was then customary among the French. Although the master preferred to write “inanimate nature”, he had an excellent taste and undoubted gift of a portrait painter. This can be judged by the self-portrait he created with a pencil drawing in his hands.
This canvas depicts a young man with an expressive southern appearance and a proud posture, with beautiful black eyes, in a simple but elegant and sophisticated suit. A snow-white shirt and vest perfectly complement the dark satin costume and make the portrait bright and expressive.
But the time of prosperity quickly ended when, due to strife in the academy, her father first left the wall, and then the son of Melendez. Since then, financially, both have been very limited.
Louis spent four years in Italy, where he was engaged in the restoration of manuscripts who died in a fire.
Then the artist returned to his homeland, where he created still lifes that immortalized his name. They are now in the Prado Museum. But materially they did not enrich the master. The lack of a rich patron led to the fact that until the end of his life, the talented painter lived quite poorly.
The artist died in 1780 in Madrid.