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More Than Portraits: the paintings of Diego Velazquez 3 The challenge of narrative
When Diego Velázquez was appointed a Painter Royal to King Philip IV in October 1623, he became the most junior of a group of artists of varied status and influence. Among the most senior was Vicente Carducho, who had been painting religious and narrative works for the court for... Read more
More Than Portraits: the paintings of Diego Velazquez 2, to court
By the time that Diego Velázquez and his wife had their first child, in the early summer of 1619, he had established the reputation of an up and coming provincial artist, thanks to his innovative bodegones (genre paintings centred on food and its preparation). One of his first commissions... Read more
Painting in Spain at the time of Velázquez 2
In the previous article of this pair, I looked at a few paintings by artists of the Spanish Golden Age, from El Greco to Zurbarán. Here, I concentrate on four painters: two who were reported to have taught Velázquez, the Italian Vicente Carducho who preceded Velázquez in the Spanish... Read more
Painting in Spain at the time of Velázquez 1
In the history of painting, it’s all too easy to get blinded by the brilliance of artists working in Italy and France, and forget those of Spain. When we think of Golden Ages, we think of the Dutch one, not that of Spain. Yet for about a century from... Read more
More Than Portraits: the paintings of Diego Velazquez 1, early bodegone
Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) is most famous for his portraits, but several of his most important works – his landscape sketches of about 1630 from Italy, Las Hilanderas (The Spinners) from about 1657, and Las Meninas from 1656 – are very different and profoundly fascinating. In this series, I am... Read more
Constantin Meunier 1: Cigar-making, fishermen, and family
In the late nineteenth century, there were many individual artists whose paintings didn’t really conform to any particular school, so defy classification. Constantin Meunier (1831–1905) is a good example: although many of his works have features in common with Naturalism, and he seems to have had connections with Naturalist... Read more
Beyond the French Impressionists: 15 Spain, Pinazo, Sorolla
Although Sorolla is by far the most famous of the ‘Spanish Impressionists’, he was not the only one. Most of the others seem to have faded into the mists of time, but I first briefly cover one of Sorolla’s teachers, Pinazo, for whom there are limited resources available. Ignacio... Read more
Into the Light: Enrique Simonet, Death and the countryside, up to 1900
Think of painting in Spain around 1900, and we tend to envisage the vast golden canvases of Sorolla’s eternal summer. Glorious though they are, he was by no means the only famous painter active in Spain at that time. Allow me to introduce you to Enrique Simonet Lombardo (1866–1927).... Read more
Into the Light: Enrique Simonet, Death and the countryside, after 1900
In my first article about the Spanish painter Enrique Simonet Lombardo (1866–1927), I showed examples from his career prior to 1900. This article resumes the story of his paintings during the twentieth century. In 1901, Simonet was appointed a professor at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. For... Read more
Two Marriages of Great Convenience: 1 Marie de’ Medici’s grand plan
I love visiting the Louvre, but there are rooms in which I feel a little lost. One is the Galerie Médicis, in the Richelieu Wing, where Rubens’ paintings in the Marie de’ Medici Cycle hang. They are huge and wonderful paintings, but cracking the code to their meaning seems... Read more