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Velazquez. Catalogue Raisonne. Jose Lopez-Rey

ID: 140503

Jose Lopez-Rey

Velazquez. Catalogue Raisonne

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Издательство: Taschen
c. 328
1999 г.
ISBN: 3-8228-6533-8

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Manet acclaimed Velazquez as 'the greatest painter of all', and Delacroix confessed that the Spaniard's work was 'what I have been seeking for so long…' Emile Bernard summed up why Velazquez impresses and intrigues so many modern artists: 'He is the most stimulating technician and the most dangerous aesthetician. To learn how to paint, study him, and then forget him, or you will never become an artist in your own right.' Even Picasso admired `Las Meninas` to such an extent that he painted forty-four variations on it, all of them impassioned interrogations of his distant forerunner and compatriot. 'Where is the picture, and where is reality?' asked Ferrari. Velazquez plays with this paradoxical ambivalence. Although he was described as 'a painter of likenesses', he succeeded above all in being a 'painter of pictures', and this respect was the first modern artist. Jose Lopez-Rey's book abundantly illustrates how each of Velazquez' paintings contains multiple pictures, making it hard to know whether to admire the landscape, the portrait, the personage, the dog, the horse, the still-life or the costumes most of all. Velazquez said he preferred to be 'first in everyday things, rather than second in refinements'. To him, an old woman frying eggs was the equal of the Pope. A buffoon, or some deformed, suffering creature had as much right to the magic of his paintbrush as the King himself. It is difficult to tell whether the huntsman or his dog benefits more from the painter's sensitivity and psychological awareness. Goya, Manet, Monet, Renoir and Degas, to name only a few of the finest artists, all drew a great deal of inspiration from Velazquez' painting of Philip IV's grand chamberlain. The painter was described as a 'precursor of impressionism' and it is noticeable how 'he reduces painting to visuality, as Descartes reduced thought to rationality (Ortega y Gasset). He painted according to the dictates of what he saw. Form is subservient to light and colour; the brush strokes are markers to help the onlooker reconstruct the picture mentally. These are modern concepts which the likes of Monet or Matisse pursued all their lives. Velazquez created beauty from the ugliness of someone like `Innocent X` or a dwarf, or from the sublime nudity of `Venus in the Mirror`.

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