The Afternoon Meal (La Merienda)

Artist: Luis Meléndez (Spanish, Naples 1716–1780 Madrid)

Date: ca. 1772

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 41 1/2 x 60 1/2 in. (105.4 x 153.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.60.39


This still life by Meléndez is exceptional in its format and composition. The setting in a luscious landscape is also unusual for him; his compositions are usually set against stark backgrounds. The painting is similar to a series of four which were painted for the Nuevo Cabinete de Historia Natural of the Prince of Asturias (now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid). It is likely that the Museum’s still life originally had a pendant canvas of the same size, with a landscape. The presence of a picnic basket justifies the title of The Afternoon Meal (in Spanish, La Merienda).