Meléndez, Luis (lōēsˈ mālānˈdāth) [key], 1716–80, Spanish painter. He assisted his father, artist Francisco Melendez, until 1737, when he began studying with Lewis-Michel Vanloo, the court painter to Philip V of France. Although accepted (1745) into the Spanish Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he was expelled after his father denounced the academy in a dispute over a royal competition. After traveling throughout Italy, he returned to work for his father as an illustrator of choirbooks. In the 1760s, the subject of his paintings changed from portraits to still lifes, the works for which he is best known. In these paintings, crisply and realistically painted fruits, wooden boxes, pottery, foodstuffs, and other still-life elements stand out against dark blank backgrounds.
See study by E. Tufts (1985); G. A. Hirschauer and C. A. Metzger, ed., Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life (museum catalog, 2009).