Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velasquez (1599-1660) automatic translate
The great painter and brilliant diplomat Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez became one of the brightest symbols of the artistic era of the 17th century. A talented artist, caressed by King Philip IV, lived a rich life and created amazing masterpieces of world painting. His work, called by various critics, then vital and sincere, then cold and mysterious, has been conquering the hearts of art lovers all over the world for many centuries.
Gallery: All the pictures of Velazquez
The exact date of birth of Diego Velasquez, the son of aristocrats, Portuguese immigrants who lived in Spanish Seville, remained unknown. All that we have is a recording dated June 6, 1599, which testifies to the baptism of the future great master in the local church.
Diego was lucky from the outset, his parents favored the boy’s fascination with drawing and early gave it to the studio of the most famous local painter, Francisco de Herrera the Elder (1576-1656). I must say that at that time, Seville was not just a prosperous port city, it was famous throughout Spain for its monasteries, silk production, as well as poets, writers and fine painters.
The young artist was very diligent in teaching, and, according to early biographers, he grasped everything literally «on the fly.» Nevertheless, only a year later, he left the workshop of Herrera, which was due to the extremely difficult nature of the venerable painter.
But without a teacher, Diego did not stay. He was immediately taken to the workshop of another talented artist and a very affable person - Francisco Pacheco (1564-1645). Being an expert of the Inquisition on church painting and an artist of academic direction, Pacheco was fond of the ideas of humanism, he was well educated and was famous for his responsiveness. A multifaceted educator not only revealed the artistic abilities of the young man, but also introduced him into the higher circles of society, arranging him further protection. It was in his workshop that Diego Velasquez met the future famous sculptor and architect Alonso Cano and the talented artist Francesco de Surbaran. In all senses Pacheco believed in Velazquez. And as an artist, and as a person. He even gave his fifteen-year-old daughter for him in 1618.
Diego Velasquez was only 17 years old when he joined the corporation of the Seville artists, after which his independent creative path began. Soon, Diego and Pacheco’s daughter, Juan Miranda, had two daughters: Ignacia and Francisco, although the first of them, Ignacia, died as a very small child. But the young artist, although he began the life of a family man, never for a moment forgot about his career.
The dream of Velasquez was to become the court painter of the king of Spain himself. To approach the goal, the artist goes to Madrid. There, in 1622 he wrote «The Portrait of the Poet Luis de Gongora-i-Artte» (Museums of Fine Arts, Boston), which attracts more attention from important persons at the court. But, this time, such a welcome for the painter meeting with the monarch Philip IV, was not destined to take place. Velazquez returns with nothing back to Seville, where he continues to work.
Even at the very beginning of his creative path, Velasquez, as a very observant artist, was carried away by genre paintings. Seville of those years was a very busy city, with many craftsmen and beggars on the streets and an ebullient life in numerous taverns.
The very first works of the master, which gained fame, were devoted to the everyday life of numerous craftsmen, cooks and apprentices engaged in conversations, cooking or cleaning. This genre was called «bodegones» (the word «bodegon» in Spanish means «tavern, tavern»). The paintings of this series are characterized by a dark, mostly conventional background. The usual meal of commoners was portrayed by pitchers, glasses, plates and meager provisions, laid out directly on the table boards or a white tablecloth.
The painting «The Old Cook» (about 1618, the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh) is a prime example of this genre. A tired elderly woman prepares breakfast from eggs in a dark kitchen. The boy is waiting for the cooking, apparently, someone’s apprentice or servant of the heroine herself. The young man squeezes a jug of wine in his hand and holds a ripe melon in his other hand, apparently ready to put it all on the table. The scanty interior of the tavern is represented by a rough log, with a clay plate standing on top of it, short scoops, hanging behind the back of the cook and an old wicker basket. The whole picture is permeated with the monotony of the days that this elderly woman spends here.
No less depressing plot with a miserable tavern situation is on the canvas «Two young men at the table» (circa 1618, Museum of Wellington, London). Here we see how in the foreground a stack of clean plates, a clay jug, an upturned iron cup and a wooden crib. Nearby is a crumpled rag, apparently, served as a towel. One of the young men drinks his drink, and, bending over the table, talks quietly with his friend about something.
The ordinary, simple, and tranquil plot of these canvases became the reason for the somewhat contemptuous attitude of the Seville audience to the paintings of Velasquez. Connoisseurs of art consider the painting too «mundane» for the high name «art».
The picture «Breakfast» (about 1618, the State Hermitage, St. Petersburg), belonging to the same series, differs slightly in its mood. On the canvas, the painter portrayed two gay young people in the company of an elderly solid man. At least one of this trinity, feasting in the tavern, has a noble origin. This is indicated by a short-brimmed hat hanging in the center of the wall, a sword and not a white collar. Despite this, the food on the table is very meager, which does not spoil the mood of the whole company.
One of the young people, smiling, lifted his thumb up, and the second with a happy appearance shows a filled bottle of wine. Only an elderly bearded man looks at his friends with a grin. This realistic picture of Velasquez is probably the only one in his cycle «Bodegones», where, despite the bleak background and poverty of the depicted situation, the heroes glow with optimism and carefree youth.
The painting «Christ in the House of Mary and Martha» is imbued with a completely different atmosphere (around 1620, the National Gallery, London). In the picture we see a young cook who is pounding something in her mortar. On the table in front of her lie two eggs on a plate, a fish in a cup and heads of garlic. A woman prepares food (the fish here is a symbol of Christ), and her old wise-assured interlocutor points to a narrative about the evangelical plot.
According to the compositional structure, we have before us the classical version of the «picture in the picture», when two stories closely correspond in meaning. The sisters Mary and Martha listen to the speech of Christ who came to their house, leaving their household chores. Moreover, the blessing gesture of God’s Son extends to both the depicted plot, and to the house of Mary and Martha, and to a meager meal in the plot of the main picture. So the artist draws a parallel between the biblical preparation for writing, suspended for the words of the Teacher, and the modern master of the household scene, where the elderly woman also stopped her product, reminding her of eternal values.
A completely different allegory of life is presented in The Seller of Water from Seville (1622, Wallace Collection, London). Here we see a commoner with a tanned wrinkled face, holding out a glass of water to a thoughtful little boy. The painter specially highlighted with chiaroscuro rounded contours of a nearby pitcher and especially carefully drawn the grace of a transparent vessel in which lies the fig fruit on the bottom, not only giving a pleasant taste to water, but also being an erotic symbol at the time. It turns out that an elderly man, as if casually offers an unsuspecting boy to try the «cup of love». In the background of the canvas, a strong young man, with pleasure drank his glass.
All canvases are distinguished by a dark, seemingly airless background, devoid of depth. The construction of each still life is strict and concise, but not without a certain solemnity. All the images chosen by the artist are vital and expressive, and the coloring of the pictures is balanced and calm.
A dream come true
Nevertheless, the interests of the young painter were not limited to the images of ordinary townspeople, nor were the characters of famous secular persons interested in him as well. So, in the summer of 1623, Velasquez undertakes a new trip to Madrid.
At this time, the artist managed to establish strong contacts at the court of Philip IV. In the patronage of the ancient friend of the artist Pacheco, the royal chaplain of don Juan de Fonseca, Velasquez received an order for a portrait from Count Olivares. Amazing performance, noble origin and the necessary connections helped the painter first to find in the person of the Count the patron and friend, and then gave and the favor of the monarch himself. A young, well-educated polyglot and lover of beautiful women, King Philip IV, who completely trusted Olivares, agreed, finally, to get acquainted with the little-known Sevillian artist.
The fire in the royal palace of 1734 destroyed both the palace itself and a huge collection of works of art stored in it. Among the lost paintings were all the first portraits of Duke Olivares and King Philip IV, belonging to Velasquez.
But the testimonies of contemporaries remained that the artist received from the king the most high praise for his works, which could only be. Immediately, in the first year of his arrival in the capital, on October 6, 1623, the artist was appointed court painter of the King of Spain. In his workshop, located in the wing of the palace of the Spanish monarch, they installed a special chair for His Royal Majesty, and Philip IV was there at any convenient time, often opening the room with his own key.
Naturally, such a rapid success of the new artist entailed the emergence of many envious persons and ill-wishers. Velazquez’s artistic abilities were constantly questioned, and court magnates often expressed dissatisfaction with his arrogance and arrogance. But the artist had an indestructible patron. In the Portrait of Gaspard de Guzman, Duke of Olivares (1624, Museum of Art, Sao Paulo), the hero looks like a formidable and powerful cavalier. He stands in a majestic pose, only slightly with his hand on the table covered with a velvet tablecloth.
Having the patronage of the two most influential people of Spain, the artist, unlike most of the court painters of his time, was also an active lord, because of what he could not completely surrender to art.
Despite the cruel rules of court etiquette and the constant palace intrigues, a very warm and friendly relationship developed between Velazquez and the young monarch. Philip IV did not even want to pose to anyone if his favorite painter was away.
The artist enjoyed his special disposition, which is clearly shown on the canvas «Portrait of Philip IV» (1631-1632, National Gallery, London). The king is depicted in a garment, entirely woven with silver. One of his hands lies calmly on the hilt of a sword, which is traditionally a symbol of power and might, but in the other hand the king holds a document on which Velasquez’s signature is clearly read. The monarch’s hat lies on the table in the depths of the picture, as if Philip IV had removed it before an important audience, a moment ago.
Luxuriously decorated with magnificent works of art, numerous labyrinths of corridors and gloomy rooms of the royal palace, greatly expanded the artistic horizons of the master. After acquainting himself with the paintings of Rubens and Titian, who made the strongest impression on him, Velazquez commissioned the King to paint horse portraits of Philip IV and his wife.
Unlike the monarch, Queen Isabella did not like posing artists, so only a few of her images have survived to this day, including «The Queen’s Portrait of Queen Isabella of Bourbon» (1634-1635, Prado, Madrid). The picture depicts the daughter of Maria Medici sitting in a regal pose, adorned with a magnificent embroidered blanket, a snow-white horse. Just like most of the portraits of the time, this one was obviously written in the studio, and the Spanish nature in the background is nothing more than a prepared «backdrop». In a flat airless space, the queen elegantly holds the bridle of her horse. The work is a vivid example of the traditional for Spain at that time a ceremonial portrait.
However, gradually the stiff and cold appearance of the characters on his canvases changed. Over the years, the psychological characteristics of the portraits began to become more complicated, which was especially evident not in custom-made portraits of the royal family and grandees, but in the images of buffoons and dwarfs, which obviously were many at the court of Philip IV.
According to some reports, there were more than a hundred clowns, monsters and dwarfs at the monarch’s court of that time. Grimaces and various physical defects of these people were the only entertainment in the monotonous and dreary life of the inhabitants of the royal palace. Dwarfs and jesters were an integral part of the established way of the royal court, they did not have to show pity or sympathy, they could only be laughed at, however, within the etiquette. There was a tradition at the court of the image of freaks and dwarfs, over the single and group portraits of which worked all Spanish painters of the XVI century.
This genre in painting even had its own separate name - «Los truhanes». Quite often the jesters were depicted on the front portraits next to their masters. In the work of Velazquez, there are also a number of works of this genre.
For example, on the «Portrait of the Infanta Belshazzar Carlos with a Dwarf» (1631, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), next to the little prince dressed in a beautiful, gold-embroidered suit with a livery over his shoulder, stands a dwarf in a white apron. In the left hand the dwarf holds a rattle, and the right one presses an apple to himself. The portrait raises a number of questions about the hidden psychological sense inherent in the artist. So, the dwarf, who no doubt is only a toy belonging to the heir to the throne, holds in his hands objects that for some reason strongly resemble the state and the scepter. And it is he, and not the heir to the throne, who looks like a real child in the picture, whereas the beautiful and dressed Belshazzar Carlos looks more like an empty doll.
All portraits of dwarfs in Velasquez are expressive and deeply sympathetic. With a close look at the Portrait of the Dwarf El Primo (1644, Prado, Madrid), it is difficult not to notice the seal and wisdom on his face. Usually dwarfs were not portrayed in gentry clothes, and the fact that in the picture the hero is dressed in a nobleman’s suit, most likely, means his noble origin. It is known for certain that El Primo had a good education and, besides his clownish duties, served in the royal chancellery, so the artist portrayed him with books.
Truthful, unadorned portraits of jesters and freaks are much more talked about the artist than his custom-made works. Another example of the painting «Los truhanes» can serve as the «Portrait of Francisco Lescano» (1643-1645, Prado, Madrid). The composition of the canvas is very similar to the classical setting of the ceremonial portrait. The artist portrayed the buffoon so kind and direct that it makes his apparent lack of intelligence akin to childish naivety, rather than stupidity.
Some critics consider the «Portrait of Don Juan Kalabasas» (about 1643-1644, Prado, Madrid) to be ambiguous. On it, the hunchback is depicted with the traditional attributes of stupidity - dried pumpkin rattles, called «kalabasas» in Spanish (hence the nickname of the jester). Another title of the work is «El Bobo», which means «fool». Nevertheless, the hero of the portrait is more like a professional artist, portraying a fool for the fun of noblemen, and not a mentally retarded person.
Particularly impressive is the «Portrait of Don Sebastian del Morra» (1645, Prado, Madrid). A dwarf with a large head and disproportionately short legs looks at the viewer with the shrewd and intelligent gaze of an educated, ironic and domineering person. The royal cape, thrown over the narrow shoulders of the dwarf, looks like a mockery of fate over this man. Obviously, the artist, in the duty of service, communicated with all the inhabitants of the royal court and knew their characters well.
During the time during which Velasquez made a career at court, first from the court painter to the chambermaster, and later from the wardrobe-master to the administrator of the entire royal palace, he saw a lot. One mourning was replaced by another: first there was Queen Isabella, then the sister of Philip IV - Maria died, the prince of the throne, Prince Baltasar Carlos, unexpectedly died. The tired painter decided to leave the royal residence and, having received the monarch’s favor, went to Italy, determined to work on the landscapes.
Nature in the works of the master
Landscapes held in Velasquez works pretty small place, but, nevertheless, there are several well-known studies of the artist, depicting the picturesque corners of the famous Medici park on the outskirts of Rome.
An example of such a landscape painting can be «Villa Medici in Rome. Facade Grotto-Lodzhip «or» Villa Medici in Rome. Ariadne Hall «(both in 1630, Prado, Madrid). Works are distinguished by direct perception of life, clear forms and free style of writing. The unique atmosphere of abandoned places in stark contrast to stressed staffazhnymi figures of people, as if specially inscribed master in composition to enliven a dull park. Bit abrupt transitions of light and shade in both sketches give the paintings a light romantic sadness. For a long time we have been dating for years 1650-1651, ie the period of the second trip to Italy Velasquez. But thanks to recent studies, it became apparent that the two etudes were written much earlier than the master, just as his first journey.
Painting «Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV» (about 1634-1635 years, Prado, Madrid) is an example of the work in which Velazquez used quite a realistic landscape in the background, unlike many similar works, other than flat, airless space.
the artist’s work was not confined to the genres of portrait and landscape. Great painter has created a lot of paintings on mythological and historical subjects, who always tried to interpret in their own way, not exactly established traditions and achievements of other famous painters.
Following the prevailing tradition in those days, Velasquez, at the very beginning of his career, often turned to religious subjects. His works are characterized by original interpretation, regardless of whether he painted traditional subjects as independent works, such as the painting «The Immaculate Conception» (1618, National Gallery, London), and «Adoration of the Magi» (1819, Prado, Madrid), or I insert the biblical story into everyday genre scene, for example - «Christ in the house of Mary and Martha» (about 1620, National gallery, London).
After moving to Madrid, the painter created mainly portraits and almost did not apply to a religious genre. The exceptions were a few works created in different years by order of the Spanish monarch.
According to legend, Korol Filipp IV once kindled vicious passion for a young nun Madrid Benedictine Monastery of San Placido. The redemption of this blasphemous sin, the monarch promised to submit to the monastery magnificent works of art, painted by the most illustrious artist of the capital - Diego Velaskesa.
The wizard created several paintings, the most famous of which was the painting «Christ Crucified» (about 1632, Prado, Madrid). Like most of the religious works of the artist, the painting features the original interpretation of the story. Painter deliberately gave the image of Christ the most realistic and psychological overtones. Jesus shows on the cross in a very calm, devoid of anguish pose. Probably Velasquez wanted to avoid expressions of intolerable suffering, so half of the Savior’s face is hidden dangling lock of hair. The whole figure if it emits a warm glow, sharply contrasting with a dark transparent background. This technique creates the impression that the body of Jesus - is a kind of wall that separates our world from the all-consuming darkness.
Artwork ’Coronation of Mary «(1645, Prado, Madrid) carries a very different tone. In the New Testament it Velazquez painted the Trinity, makes it incumbent entwined with beautiful flowers crown on Mary’s head. The person seated Jesus solemnly and concentrated. Wise, white-haired and experience the power of God the Father holds in one hand a magic crystal sphere. And in the middle, stood in the radiant halo vzmahnuvshy wings of a dove, which pours the golden rays of light falling on Mary’s head. Careful color palette group and its compositional structure in shape resemble filled with the divine spirit and the blood of the human heart. These paintings are rightly treasure the world’s best museums and its magnificence compensate for the small number of religious works of the great painter.
The original interpretation of the mythological stories
Mythological subjects in the paintings of Velazquez are also quite original interpretation. In all the paintings by this artist of the genre, it seems, it is not very interested in the mythological side of the design. Historical figures and gods decided he did not sublime and heroic, and very down to earth. For example, in the painting «The Triumph of Bacchus» (the second name - «Drunkards», 1629, Prado, Madrid) is shown is not the feast of the gods and satyrs, and the revelry of ordinary Spanish vagabonds, located directly in the field. Among them we see the ancient god Bacchus, with his faun.
Young god has awarded one of the participants in a fun wreath of vines and now absently lays a wreath on his head bowed before him a soldier. But the compositional center of the picture is not Bacchus, and laughing beggar in a black broad-brimmed hat, wielding a glass filled with wine. For all the seeming gaiety, all participants look rather tired, or even sad. Tramp, leaning over the shoulder of the young god looks and intoxicating severe. All the characters as though taken from reality itself. A person deprived of Bacchus ancient perfection and elevation, as well as his body, with a protruding belly. At the same time, all the characters are completely devoid of even a hint of vulgarity. Brilliant artist has managed very balanced envelop Bacchic elements familiar consumer pattern.
Interpretation of the original author has other works on mythological themes - «The Forge of Vulcan» (1630, Prado, Madrid). The scene of the ancient episode is that a Vulcan - god of blacksmithing, which were listed in the apprentice cyclops, Apollo arrives and tells the terrible deity unpleasant news that the beautiful Venus, the wife of Vulcan, had betrayed him. It would seem that the reaction of God should become a storm of indignation, erupting with fire and iron.
But Velasquez quite differently interpreted classic story. In the medieval blacksmith shop, we see not the Cyclopes, and the strong men in loincloths. All the blacksmiths watching suddenly appeared in the golden halo of golden-haired Apollo with a laurel wreath on his head and in the ancient toga puzzled. No indignation or anger on the face of Vulcan there - only doubt and surprise.
If not for the presence of the shining ancient god, it would have been a typical household picture in front of us. There is a canvas and an allegory - on the shelf over the flaming mountain we can see the snow-white brilliant pitcher. Of course, this bright vertical spot took the painter to balance color composition picture, because it is located just on the opposite side of the white-skinned Apollo work. But the pitcher contains and meaning. Like a beautiful Venus, the perfect white vessel belongs to Vulcan, and even standing right over the red-hot mountain, near the blackened iron, and being surrounded by sweaty male bodies, it preserves the pristine purity. So it all really loving men believe that their spouses are impeccable and loyal to them.
Two paintings - «Aesop» and «God of War Mars» (both - about 1640, Prado, Madrid) were part of a larger series intended to decorate the royal hunting lodge located in the vicinity of Madrid’s Torre de la Parada. These famous characters are also deprived of pathos and look quite ordinary, that is completely corresponding manner the artist. If the god of war is similar to a weary and pensive soldier, the Aesop looks completely degraded person. Both characters envelops hidden sadness, which, obviously, was peculiar to the author himself during the execution of the order. The subjects of Philip IV could not respond to the decline, which was the country.
Velasquez received a classical Catholic education, and even was a relative of an officer of the Holy Inquisition, however, this could not outweigh the fact the strongest impression made on the master work of Italian classics. So, after a second visit to Italy, the artist became interested in nudity. There is evidence that he created a number of quite uncharacteristic for Spanish painting of the time, such images. Apparently, the young monarch shared the interests of his favorite painter of this, all these pictures soon adorned the rooms of the palace. But to the present day, they are, unfortunately, not preserved. With one exception - «Venus with a Mirror» (about 1648, National Gallery, London) was a unique example of sensual female portrait Velazquez.
According to the authors, the picture is a genre painting with elements of everyday scenes. Nude Goddess, turned his back to the viewer, lying on silk sheets. She looks at herself in the mirror that holds for her winged cupid, red velvet curtain serves as their background. All beautifully drawn folds of silk bed Venus, her velvety skin, smooth seductive curves of her body, ribbon, ornately draped over the mirror, and the direction of pull back the red draperies create an ideal composition is striking in its beauty and harmony.
Like other mythological paintings by Velazquez, in the film quite a bit of the divine, all the more ordinary and mundane. Gray, like the wings of Cupid unnatural contrast sharply with his fatted calf, a black wide frame turbid mirror is designed to enhance the audience’s suspense: what kind of shape at the beautiful Venus? Reflection in the mirror is vague and unclear, but it is obvious that the face of the goddess, why is not shining beauty, as one would expect, looking at her graceful silhouette.
In this work, the master remained true to himself - he has once again portrayed not traditionally expected the divine image, and the common man. In occasion of the picture there is a legend according to which the Italian painter Velasquez posed Flaminia trivia. I must say that in those days women are very rarely involved in painting. Probably between trivia and the artist he broke the novel, after which, Velazquez returned to his homeland, and Flaminia bore him a son. Therefore, «Venus in the mirror» and sensual so strikingly different from the conventional master images. In fact, the artist created a souvenir true portrait of the beloved.
For two and a half centuries of painting has replaced several owners, and in 1914 all attacked. Mary Richardson - one of the most ardent advocates of women’s rights chop chopper canvas in protest, after which he was for a long time was under restoration. Surprisingly, the difficult fate have almost all the works of the great artist.
The military triumph of the Spanish Monarchy
When Velasquez back when his royal chamberlain doing the interior design of the next Royal Palace Buen Retiro, he began work on a series of historical paintings, designed to glorify the military triumph of the Spanish monarch. All work related to the 1630 year.
The product of «Surrender of Breda» (1634-1635 years, the Prado, Madrid) - perhaps the most massive of all surviving. It depicts a solemn act of transferring the key from the besieged city of the Dutch won the battle of the Spanish Army June 2, 1625, when Spain pacify its rebellious northern territories.
The very key transfer episode is the compositional center of the picture, in which the great portraitist incredibly accurate given the psychological characteristics of the two famous generals. The forced subservience bent dark key in his hand the commander of the Dutch garrison Yusgiv Nassau to high lean Ambrosio Spinola - Spanish commander. Spinola noble gesture of the winner of the defeated enemy pats on the shoulder. Both generals troops surround them.
Only a few soldiers left behind Nassau, and they bowed their heads in dismay. Just a couple of hammers alone stands above them. And behind them rises to the sky Black smoke from the fires, stretching to the right, leading, thus, the viewer’s eye to the Spanish army. Of a group of officers Spinola stands a forest of slender spears. Their precise rhythm reinforces the impression of power and strength of the victorious troops. All fabric looks very realistic, thanks to the carefully written out the spatial depth, as in the image of groups of soldiers, as well as in the landscape background.
The painter worked great texture almost every costume party cloth, standing in the foreground. Here assembled a gallery of portraits of the Spanish aristocracy of the time, starting from the image of the commander Ambrosio Spinola, which the artist gave a noble knight’s psychological characteristics, and ending with his own self-portrait sad near the horse’s head. In contrast to the cold dignity of the victors, defeated the Dutch depicted simple and large. Their natural posture is very true and human. Here, oddly enough, the author allowed himself to sympathy for the loser. Netherlands province desperately fought for their independence, and when Velasquez to create paintings, Bren had already been repulsed by the Dutch. Even in this work to read some hidden irony, although it was intended to glorify the victory and valor of the Spanish monarchy.
Velazquez painted in the right «Spanish» part of the picture perfectly drawn croup, which, of course, is a symbol of the benefits and power of Spain. That’s just why the artist turned her back to the viewer? In spite of all his loyalty to Philip IV of, a painter as an intelligent and well versed in politics, subtly expressed his opinion the only way available to him - through pictures. Admittedly, in that Velasquez had no equal among the painters of his era.
Portrait of Pope
In the late 1640s, Velazquez made his second trip to Italy. The official pretext for his visit was to acquire for the collection of Philip IV of antique sculptures and several masterpieces of Italian painting. But we must not forget that the artist was at the same time a high-ranking court official of their monarch, among the duties which was the establishment of diplomatic relations with senior officials of Italy. Painter perfectly coped with both tasks, he was well received by the new Pope Innocent X in the Vatican, who immediately ordered his own portrait. The result of a three-month work of the artist stunned the whole of Rome, not to mention the customer.
Painting «Portrait of Pope Innocent X» (1650, Gallery Loria-Pamphili, Rome) immediately gained the most fame. Although it was not typical for the time, with multiple copies of the painting was done. Linked this success was primarily due to the achievement of extremely high compliance of a psychological portrait of the hero of the web.
Against the background of the heavy crimson curtains in red satin cap sits on a gilded throne imperious pontiff. Very materially and tangibly transferred and white folds of his robe, and his scarlet silk robe, and even a gold ring with a large dark stones that adorned his right hand.
Despite its convenient position in a chair, posture Innocent X has an inner tension. This is noticeable in a slightly bent fingers on the arm of the throne, and a barely noticeable drop of sweat on his nose and forehead of the Pope. Reflexes are transferred with great conviction. But the most striking face pontiff. Its curves tightly compressed thin lips and a heavy chin beard with a liquid eloquently show stealth and brutal. Long nose testifies to his noble origin. Deep-set eyes carefully and coolly looking directly at the viewer. In the view of the head of the church read arrogance, intelligence, shrewdness and cunning.
As if by chance the artist emphasizes the prominent ear pontiff, on which the light falls. This is nothing meaningless detail unexpectedly reported all manner of Innocent X commonplace and prosaic. With the portrait looks powerful, strong and devoid of evil passions elderly man in the clothes of a high-ranking dignitary of the Church. Most importantly, I conveyed to the viewer Velasquez - is that, for all its merits and demerits, the Pope does not have the main thing - no Christian charity, nor holiness.
Preserved evidence of witnesses who say that the pope, when he first saw his picture, he exclaimed: «Too true!». Educated, endowed with a sharp mind Innocent X could not help but recognize how ingeniously created this masterpiece. He solemnly awarded artist papal medal and a gold chain.
Sam Velasquez immediately received many orders for portraits of other high-ranking dignitaries of the Vatican: from Monsignor Camillo Massimi, flew to Cardinal Pamphili. But the diplomat and painter hurried to return of the king. Therefore Velasquez hurried back to Madrid, where he already had a lot of creative plans.
Allegory of the unjust way of life
One of the most amazing and symbolic paintings of Velazquez was painting «The Spinners» (the second name - «The Myth of Arachne», about 1657, Prado, Madrid). The canvas is divided into two composite parts. In the foreground, in the shadows weaving workshop shown busy with his hard work spinners. At the heart of a young working woman, down on one knee, picks up from the floor skeins of wool. On the right side of the artist is realistic and wrote another large spinners, woolen thread is wound into a tight ball. Her broad back and big hands with the sleeves rolled express accuracy and confidence motions. Near watching her work another young woman. To the left of them, nonchalantly thrown over shawl weaver sits tired in front of his wooden machine, talking to the assistant. In her bare feet comfortably settled cat. Behind assistant we weavers, thanks to push back the heavy red curtain, we can see the finished tapestry, stacked. The whole scene is displayed in a manner characteristic of the artist - ordinary and without embellishment. The required dynamic picture gives some details - like the rotating wheel of the machine or thrown forward leg spinner, as well as rich flavor of the scene.
The second part of the composite fabric is the background. There seemed to flooded sunlight scene depicts two ladies, carefully considering hanging on the wall carpets. Probably, the lady on the left - the owner of the workshop, patiently pending potential buyers. Bright patterned edge of the carpet shown in him a grand mythological scenes and pure sounding like a color transform the entire far side of the room in a fabulous grand view contrasts sharply with commonplace front of the picture.
Two different plans are in the works at the same time complex and direct interaction with each other. It is not just the opposition of hard work and excellent results. There are important details, namely the subject shown on the finished tapestry, examines shopper. There we can see the final of the Roman tradition of Arachne, which sets the correct interpretation of the work.
The mythological character famous for exquisite craftsmanship spinners, which lifted up their abilities and was converted for this goddess Minerva in the terrible spider. Here lies the irony is not even, but rather bitter regret of the great painter. That is why the face of the lady of the court has an undeniable resemblance to the portrait of a young working woman, standing in the right corner of the picture. Leading to nowhere vertical ladder on the left side of the picture, above the head weaver, sitting at a wooden machine, designed to direct the viewer’s eye composition of the light of the background back in the twilight of the workshop.
Very eloquent and crowning the entire composition round blind hood - though, judging by the bright stream of light flowing to the left, it has a large window in the back room. Meaning fringed black sphere placed over the whole picture of a painter - to symbolize the circle of human life irreversible. Neither toil nor outstanding talent can not fix it once and for all the situation: skill simple girl Arachne can not beat elite art goddess Minerva. Not for nothing Velazquez painted on the tapestry is not a moment of divine wrath and Arachne transformation into an insect, namely the triumph of divine warrior.
This kind of allegory, perhaps, has a political tone. The plot can be interpreted as the sad triumph of the Spanish monarchy, which can easily grind both the individual as well as the entire state, imagines himself above them. The product was not only the highest achievement of art of the artist, but also an expression of his deep understanding of the injustices of the world order and an expression of sympathy for those who are lower in the hierarchy.
Enigmatic «Las Meninas»
In 1656 the famous painter creates a painting, considered the crown of his work, and one of the most enigmatic paintings in the history of art - the «Las Meninas» (Prado, Madrid).
Translated from the Spanish «Las Meninas» - is a young woman of noble birth, which is a permanent maid of honor princess and always accompany her in the suite. According to the inventories of the royal palace painting it was listed as a «family portrait», but it is very difficult to call «family», as, indeed, and «Las Meninas» - surprisingly wrong name for it.
The compositional center of the picture is a fragile little figure of the Infanta Margarita in a bright beautiful dress. Girl standing, slightly turned his head, and as it stares at the viewer. Young maid Maria Sarmiento dropped down on one knee, according to etiquette requirements and provides the vessel with a drink. The maid of Izabella De Velasco frozen in a curtsey on the other hand. Right from the walls are permanent members of the entourage of the Infanta Margarita - its jesters: Maria Barbola dwarf and the young Nicolas Pertusato. The first - to the toy chest presses, the second - pushes the leg was a large dog.
In the middle ground we see protruding from the shadows a woman in a nun’s habit - mentor Princess Marcela de Ulloa, and gvardadamasa - permanent guard and escort of the Infanta. In the open doorway in the background the steps rises Jose Nieto - court dignitaries. On the left side of the web, stretched on a stretcher beside the huge canvas, the artist depicted himself. He holds in one hand a long brush, and the other - the palette. The eyes of the painter, princess, crouching in a curtsy maid of honor, and the dwarf fixed on the viewer. More precisely, to reflect in the mirror a couple of people on the opposite wall, which, as it stands on the side of the picture - the royal couple Philip IV and his wife Mariana of Austria.
Whiter than three centuries of art historians and biographers of the great painter trying to unravel the meaning of this strange multi-figure painting in which the artist once again used his favorite building compositions - «picture in picture». Once again the master showed significantly the life of the royal family and its courtiers. There were no formal grandeur nor splendor, only a certain spontaneity and sincerity in the guise of Princess gives a picture of its sound. What artist wanted to say this work? Why the royal couple is depicted only a blur?
There are different versions in their own works which treat the plot. On one of them, Velazquez painted the moment of interruption during the creation of the portrait of the Infanta, when the workshop looked into the royal couple and the maid of honor all rushed to her mistress.
According to another version, the artist created a portrait that Philip IV and Mariana of Austria, interrupting their work due to unexpected Bang princess and her entourage. There are hundreds of explanations and interpretations of the unusual composition of this amazing picture, but they are, unfortunately, contradict each other and the individual parts on the canvas of the great master.
One of the puzzling things is that Velasquez standing in the picture in our own workshop, painted all the windows of the room tightly shuttered. On the ceiling are clearly visible fixing trimmings, chandeliers themselves but there is no way and no other sources of light. From this, a large spacious room, hung with paintings by great masters, is immersed in darkness. But no one painter will not work in the dark. Judging by the shadows cast on the canvas, the light comes from the side of the conditioned location of the royal couple, and even a doorway in the background is filled with sunlight.
It turns out that the way Velasquez shows us that he wrote his brilliant paintings «in the darkness» of the royal palace. And despite its aristocratic origins and the Order of the knighthood of Santiago, which clearly demonstrates the gold symbols in the form of a cross on his suit jacket, he has no opportunity to «come to light». That is, the artist could perform only «in the light of» their monarch, or be forced to leave the royal palace and go nowhere. Perhaps it was the thought wanted to convey the artist portraying himself together with his entourage at the Princess «family portrait» or «Las Meninas.»
Eesch one eloquent symbol of a dog lying in the foreground of the picture. image of a dog - a way a true friend who can endure - it is possible to kick with his boot, it will still protect his master. In her image symbolized the fate of unsweetened court painter, a genius of the creator, which could be something more than just a faithful servant of his master.
Velazquez art most profoundly expressed the rapid blossoming of realistic painting of the XVII century in Europe. Truthful images created by a brilliant painter, still serve as an unsurpassed example of perfection for the true connoisseurs of art and artists of different generations.
In 1660, Velasquez sent to the court of the French monarch, to settle questions regarding the conclusion between Spain and France, «the Iberian world», which has become the end of the years of confrontation between the two countries. The essence of the artist’s mission, the chosen confidant of King Philip of Spain IV, which consists in settling all questions about the marriage between the eldest daughter of the king, Maria Teresa and Louis XIV.
According to tradition, an event of this magnitude required to secure the «blood ties». The artist not only wrote and delivered to Versailles the magnificent «Portrait of the Infanta Marii Terezii» (1652, Art History Museum, Vienna), he also arranged for all celebrations and receptions on the occasion, and even accompanied the royal cortege at the betrothal ceremony, which took place on the island pheasants, on the French-Spanish border.
Although for their hard work Velasquez received a lot of praise from Felipe IV, its strength and health were undermined. Back in Madrid, shestidesyatiodnoletny painter felt an attack of fever. Save favorite royal dignitaries gathered all the best court doctors, but none of them could cure the master. August 6, 1660 Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velaskes died.