Velázquez: The Com­plete Works

The Span­ish mas­ter man­aged to bot­tle the very breath of ev­ery­one from King to Com­moner: this col­lec­tion keeps them alive

ImagineFX - - Inspiration Books - Au­thors José López-Rey and Odile De­lenda Pub­lisher Taschen Web

The por­traits of Span­ish mas­ter Diego Ro­driquez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) will come as a rev­e­la­tion to the unini­ti­ated. A ma­jor in­flu­ence on the likes of Pi­casso and Ba­con, his paint­ings cross all bound­aries of class, rang­ing from royal por­traits to images of work­ers smil­ing and drink­ing, thumbs aloft, for all the world as if they lived next door rather than Re­nais­sance Spain.

This heavy-duty col­lec­tion may not be the per­fect for­mat for experiencing Velázquez’s ca­reer in full: it’s text-heavy and aca­demic enough to ap­peal largely to art his­tory grad­u­ates, slightly at odds with the open, hu­man qual­i­ties of the art it­self. The power of many pic­tures is un­der­mined by zoomed-in el­e­ments on the pages pre­ced­ing the full im­age, and you’re left feel­ing that a word­less vir­tual stroll through a Velázquez ex­hi­bi­tion would tell you more than a mil­lion words ever could.

But above all, this col­lec­tion should be inspiring for any true artist: the fidelity of the re­pro­duc­tion shows ev­ery rough brush-stroke and scrib­bled de­tail be­fore pulling out to show the over­all ef­fect of un­can­nily life­like por­trai­ture, hu­man­ity stopped in time and cap­tured on can­vas for­ever. This is how it’s done.

Velázquez painted plenty of noble folk in eques­trian mode, such as Count-Duke of Oli­vares on Horse­back.

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