(b. 1716, Napoli, d. 1780, Madrid)

Portrait of the Artist

Oil on canvas, 100 x 82 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Luis Meléndez trained under his father Francisco Antonio Meléndez (1682-1752), a specialist royal portrait miniaturist, who was instrumental in the encouragement of Philip V to establish an academy of fine arts in Madrid, which he eventually founded in 1744, making the artist an honorary director of painting. Luis Meléndez was one of the first students admitted into the new academy (which was later named the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in 1753), where he rapidly excelled in the art of drawing, an event celebrated in his handsome self-portrait (and remarkably the only known portrait by Meléndez) of 1746, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. The highly accomplished skill displayed in this portrait reflects the experience gained by the artist during his apprenticeship to the royal portrait painter Louis-Michel van Loo from 1738 until 1744.

The artist holds one of his drawings.