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Entertainment... How to look at a painting of ... Velazquez again.

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Hello everyone, I hope and wish you all are well, and your families and friends ...

Well let's go!

I have chosen this painting, also by Velazquez, because it has something that I want to show.

It is only one thing, which we have not talked about in the previous paintings, and it is something very important, and that not all art lovers know, and know how to apply even if they have heard about it.

I want to put more cheerful pictures, they will come, I hope.

Now, I leave you to say anything you think about the painting, it does not have to be the one that has motivated me to put it, there are interesting things to say, of course ... and you and your comments make the post interesting.


Thank you!!
 

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Camino Chrissy

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The most unusual thing I notice is that the face of the black man has no light shining on him at all, yet his white collar and clothing are full of light, just as is everyone else in the room is.
The baby is wrapped in swaddling clothes with an additional band holding his arms down. The painting seems to be of the Nativity, celebrating the birth of Jesus, yet the child does not look like a newborn.
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
The most unusual thing I notice is that the face of the black man has no light shining on him at all, yet his white collar and clothing are full of light, just as is everyone else in the room is.
The baby is wrapped in swaddling clothes with an additional band holding his arms down. The painting seems to be of the Nativity, celebrating the birth of Jesus, yet the child does not look like a newborn.
Very good!!, the child is a few months old, you are right and a very good observer.
 
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It certainly is a scene of adoration. Joseph only has eyes for Mary and Mary’s eyes are on her Son. The three wise men are in total rapture of Jesus. The distant light from the dawn is very striking. A beautiful painting, thank you Gabriel.
On further reflection, this painting gives a sense of hope and of a new era dawning!
 
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Kathar1na

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I am usually mainly interested in the content of a painting but I am eager to learn more about how light and composition is used to draw our attention. When I look at a small reproduction of the painting I see diagonal lines: two parallel diagonal lines from the upper right to the lower left that include Mary and the child. Mary and the child are the centre and the core of the painting. The faces of Joseph and of one of the kings/magi/wise men are associated with this composition, again in a sort of symmetrical way: upper right and lower left. The red cloth draped around the king in the background follows this arrangement, it is nearly parallel to Mary's (slightly bent) arm.

When I look at a larger reproduction of the painting, I notice the night scene in the background (upper left). It reminds me of a medallion or a small painting in its own right. There is a bit of symmetry between this night scene and the rocks and plants at the bottom right but it is not very pronounced.

I did notice the facial features of the five men and of the child as well as the age, posture and clothing of the child. I knew already a bit about this but admit that I then googled a bit, so I won't say anything yet. I am always interested in what a painting tells us about the people and the thinking of the time when it was painted. I also noticed that the gifts that the three men hold look nearly identical and are largely hidden from view. They don't distract our attention.

I enjoy the way the pieces of clothing are painted and coloured and how they are draped: Mary's dress and head scarf, the blue and brown of the clothes of the man in the foreground (bottom left), the red clothes of the man behind him. The white of the collar is noticeable. I now see that the upper contour of the clothes of both men (red and brown) form a line. Oh, I now even notice the red pearl of the man's earring against the background of his white collar. It's the same red colour as his drapes.
 
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Kathar1na

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Looking again at the smaller reproduction, I must say that the white of the collar disturbs me a bit or makes me wonder why it is there. I notice the one-two-three of Mary's light-coloured scarf, the white cloth around the upper torso of the child and and then again on Mary's lap. From a distance, the composition forms a triangle in my eyes. Does the collar distract or is it a counterpoint? Oh, what have you done, @gmag ;)? Now I see another line, from the elbow of the man in the foreground to his head, the other man's head and the hill in the night scene ... one thing is certain, Joseph is a minor figure to this scene, which corresponds to his role in many other works of art in the Middle Ages and subsequent centuries. These representations tell the viewer in no uncertain terms that he is not the proud father of this child.

triangle.jpg
 
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Anamya

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When I look at a larger reproduction of the painting, I notice the night scene in the background (upper left). It reminds me of a medallion or a small painting in its own right. There is a bit of symmetry between this night scene and the rocks and plants at the bottom right but it is not very pronounced.
The background reminded me of the Virgin of the Rocks, by Da Vinci. The scene is obviously different, but the fact that they are both arches above Mary and Jesus probably made the link in my brain.

And who is the 4th guy????? Does´t look like a shepperd, or an angel.

That burrito-Jesus is also one of the cutest babies I've seen in classical paintings, which tend to be full of weird looking ones!
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Hi Gabriel,
Thanks for opening another painting for discussion.
Like I said before, I come from a fairly low base when it comes to art....so here is my two farthings worth.
My first impression is there are a lot of figures in an enclosed space and the use of light immediately draws your attention to the baby and your eye then moves to the surrounding figures. The only part of the child showing is the face, everything else is covered and the mothers hands are predominant in presenting the child to the magi. When you look at the magi immediately in front his hand is covering his gift.
For me, the painting subject matter is about presentation. The child is being presented to the magi openly and the gifts are covered therefore indicating a secondary importance to the piece.
 
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PeteD

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Looking again at the smaller reproduction, I must say that the white of the collar disturbs me a bit or makes me wonder why it is there. I notice the one-two-three of Mary's light-coloured scarf, the white cloth around the upper torso of the child and and then again on Mary's lap. From a distance, the composition forms a triangle in my eyes. Does the collar distract or is it a counterpoint? Oh, what have you done, @gmag ;)? Now I see another line, from the elbow of the man in the foreground to his head, the other man's head and the hill in the night scene ... one thing is certain, Joseph is a minor figure to this scene, which corresponds to his role in many other works of art in the Middle Ages and subsequent centuries. These representations tell the viewer in no uncertain terms that he is not the proud father of this child.
This painting appears to be centred on Mary rather than the baby Jesus. She is also the focus of most of the gazes in the painting. Joseph is certainly a minor actor in the scene. The viewers gaze is led from the wise mans hand upwards past Jesus to Mary's face where it rests as there is only vague and simple detail above Mary's head. Indicative of the growing importance of Mary in the Church of the time?
 

Camino Chrissy

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I had noticed the abstract white area above in the ceiling and wonder if it is possibly an otherworldly angel.
I see bits of obscure weeds above and below suggesting a stable.
I see an odd looking "foot" poking out under Mary's skirt.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
This painting appears to be centred on Mary rather than the baby Jesus. She is also the focus of most of the gazes in the painting. Joseph is certainly a minor actor in the scene. The viewers gaze is led from the wise mans hand upwards past Jesus to Mary's face where it rests as there is only vague and simple detail above Mary's head. Indicative of the growing importance of Mary in the Church of the time?
I did notice that too...Joseph's adoration is very much focussed on Mary and not the child. Mary, on the other hand, is depicted with eyes closed (or nearly so) in serene contentment.
 

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It is an amazing composition and I may be re-quoting this, as it may have been already added in the past. Someone once said "Valasquez paints the truth not as it is, but as it appears to be." That statement comes back to mind, especially when I look at the clothing material...just how is that put down onto the canvass? Quite remarkable.
Through the arch and looking into the dull pastoral scene it its foreground, is there an outline of a man to be seen? It looks like a head and shoulders... Or perhaps it's my imagination!
 

Chenahusky

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The representation of the clothing is wonderful. The light in the top left corner I would see as part of the Star of Bethlehem. The well lit plant in the right foreground, looks thorny, so perhaps a reference to the future. I also think that I can see a halo behind the Virgin.
 
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Kathar1na

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That burrito-Jesus is also one of the cutest babies I've seen in classical paintings, which tend to be full of weird looking ones!
LOL, I think you need to explain the term "burrito-Jesus" to us. I agree with you on the cuteness of this infant. Having just clicked myself though a slide show of 88 medieval and Renaissance paintings of Adorations of the Magi and Adorations of the Shepherds, I also agree on the presence of weird looking babies in some of these paintings. One wonders whether it's intentional or whether the painter had never seen a newborn or infant under the age of 1 year in real life. ☺️

Edited later: Oh, I get it now. Burrito ... the swaddling. 🙂
 
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Having just clicked myself though a slide show of 88 medieval and Renaissance paintings of Adorations of the Magi and Adorations of the Shepherds, I also agree on the presence of weird looking babies in some of these paintings. One wonders whether it's intentional or whether the painter had never seen a newborn or infant under the age of 1 year in real life.
 

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Very fascinating. I think "some" of those painter's were unmarried, possibly explaining a disconnect with infants, or maybe did not want cute babies to draw our eyes in and "steal the show" away from the painter's overall intent.

EDIT- I've removed a few words in my first sentence to appease a comment below.
Now my post shows my seriousness opinion relating to the video...All good now.
 
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One quick comment... the king with the white collar is not looking at Mary or the baby. He is looking out at the us. This is a frequent technique of artists and photographers of large people scenes. Not sure of the purpose, but perhaps that eye to eye contact, however, subtle, helps draw the viewer into the work itself.
 

Kathar1na

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Very fascinating. I think "some" of those painter's were unmarried, possibly explaining a disconnect with infants, or maybe did not want cute babies to draw our eyes in and "steal the show" away from the painter's overall intent.
With all due respect and before the thread moves further away from an appreciation of Velázquez' Adoration of the Magi, the reason why many of these earlier representations of Baby Jesus look weird to us (not necessarily "ugly" as described in the video) is the fact that they look unnatural to us. The proportions of head to body is not like those of babies and infants but like the proportions of head to body of an adult human person. It's because Jesus - God born as human in Christian theology - was perceived as perfect from the very beginning, as unchangeable. This idea was no longer expressed in sacred art when Velázquez created his paintings. It's mentioned in the video but could easily be missed.

Edited for clarity and congruence and to correct my wrong spelling of the painter's name.
 
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Bristle Boy

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2022
On previous threads discussing Vermeer it was possible for me to see how light and shade was relative to a light source (windows etc). In this painting I have difficulty in isolating a possible source that would illuminate mother and child in such a manner.
I'm sure there is one and an explanation.
 

Camino Chrissy

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I've looked at the painting again and think Mary's toe of her shoe is probably what is showing. I also notice that it seems her hands are quite large in proportion to her face and body.
 

Kathar1na

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I've looked at the painting again and think Mary's toe of her shoe is probably what is showing. I also notice that it seems her hands are quite large in proportion to her face and body.
The more we jointly look, the more we see. ☺️

But we don't always see the same things. For example, at first I accepted that Joseph was looking at Mary. Then I thought he looked straight over her shoulder. Now, when visualising the different planes of the painting, I see that he appears to be sitting behind Mary. As his face is shown in profile, I suppose he is not looking at her at all ...?

And I have now finally spotted the year that Velázquez painted on the canvas: 1619. The number is visible on the stone slab (?) below the shoe.

I can now also see that there is shadow and light on every one of the seven faces.
 
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Kiwi-d

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The lower magi is holding his hands in the same way the priest does in the mass when presenting the host.
 

Kathar1na

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there is shadow and light on every one of the seven faces
The patterns of light and shadow on the faces are consistent with a light source on the left but in a plane that lies outside the canvas, ie between the canvas and the observer.

I downloaded an image with an even higher resolution than the one in the first post. The plants at the bottom right could be Saint John’s wort and perhaps also ivy, the hill in the top left corner could be a reference to a hill near Jerusalem, perhaps not early morning or late evening but a sky that turned dark at noon and stayed that way until three in the afternoon ... so, yes, maybe, maybe, pointing to things to come as someone said earlier - baptism, crucifixion, resurrection/eternal life. There is also a silhouette that looks like a walker with a broad rimmed hat, someone mentioned spotting head and shoulders earlier. All these are tiny details. The white collar must be 16th/17th century Spanish fashion.

So, Teacher, has anyone touched on what you want us to see? ☺️
 
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gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Eso fue lo primero que noté, ¡y la mayoría de las madres lo notarían! Un bebé erguido y observador, pero envuelto en pañales.
The patterns of light and shadow on the faces are consistent with a light source on the left but in a plane that lies outside the canvas, ie between the canvas and the observer.

I downloaded an image with an even higher resolution than the one in the first post. The plants at the bottom right could be Saint John’s wort and perhaps also ivy, the hill in the top left corner could be a reference to a hill near Jerusalem, perhaps not early morning or late evening but a sky that turned dark at noon and stayed that way until three in the afternoon ... so, yes, maybe, maybe, pointing to things to come as someone said earlier - baptism, crucifixion, eternal life. There is also a silhouette that looks like a walker with a broad rimmed hat, someone mentioned spotting head and shoulders earlier. All these are tiny details. The white collar must be 16th/17th century Spanish fashion.

So, Teacher, has anyone touched on what you want us to see? ☺️
No 🤣
 
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Bristle Boy

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That was a good spot @Kiwi-d I hadn't noticed that symbolism I, too, spent a bit of time on the hands (which my son spent a lot of time teaching. The most difficult apparently.) I am avoiding any explanation which is freely available on the internet and am looking for something that might be unique to Velazquez or if it is, again, in the framing and composition.
 

Bristle Boy

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I learnt a new Italian word yesterday and keep on being drawn back to the light illuminating the mother and child. It still looks false and unnatural to me but I will keep on looking.
 

Bristle Boy

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Forgive my multiple posts....I'm wondering if the "vanishing point" in this composition is offset to the left as opposed to previous which are either all indoors or all outdoors..and are in that case central to the piece for perspective.
Probably way off beam.
 
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Kathar1na

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Well, that’s a clear answer 🤣. You said that we didn’t talk about in the previous paintings, and it is something very important, and that not all art lovers know, and know how to apply even if they have heard about it. I wonder whether it is a painting technique. I can’t draw or paint, I can only look.🤣

I‘ll mention a few things that may be of interest and are not Velazquez-specific. Content, not technique. One of the first things I noticed, of course, is the dark skin colour of the man with the white collar. I knew that the Bible stories don’t mention any such person. They simply tell of three wise or noble men travelling from the east. It was a good thousand years later that Christian art started to show them as coming from the three parts of the known world, from Europe, Asia and Africa.

We are used to seeing nativity scenes showing Mary, newborn child, Joseph, shepherds, angels, ox, donkey and 3 kings. The Bible narrative of the shepherds coming to see the child and the narrative of the 3 wise noble men coming to see the child are separate stories, they didn’t happen at the same time.

And this is what I googled: When did the 3 men arrive? The answer is: It is not known. Various calculation have been made. Anything between the time of birth and the move to Egypt is possible, with the age of Jesus ranging from 0-2 years. 8-10 months became popular.

if Velazquez were commissioned to paint the story today, how would he solve it? And who would he chose as his models? 🤔🤭🙂
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
What has just popped into my head is, zero - point perspective, with the mountain in the background. Only a guess.
That was my thought as well but didnt explain it too well. I am imagining this painting as far bigger with the mountain as the focal point...central to the piece (which it isn't)
 

gmag

Active Member
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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
To all of you:

You are still far from the point, and I can tell you that it is information that is worth gold, it is really valuable to understand a painting. It is something that applies even today, and it is a very old discovery.

I look at your posts very frequently, and if I don't answer anything, it's because I don't want to fill the post with my comment boxes, it would be unsightly and even an intrusion into a beautiful world of comments and interesting ideas and full of friendship between the participants.

In the meantime, I will say some curious things about the painting.

The model for the Virgin Mary is Juana Pacheco, Velazquez's wife.

Velazquez was 19 or 20 years old when he painted the picture, (!!!!!!!) he was born on June 6, 1599. It is a beautiful day to be born, on the 6th of 6. I was also born that same day, but a few years later.

The wizard king at the bottom left, is Velazquez himself, it is his self-portrait.

Juana Pacheco was the daughter of his teacher, they married in 1617, when she was 15 years old. Therefore, in the painting, Maria is about 17 years old. It is true that her hands in the painting do not correspond to her face. And less with a 16 or 17 year old girl. Knowing that Velazquez corrected his pictures, and this is visible in the x-rays that are made during restorations, and I have them, if he painted and left his hands like that, it is because he wanted to do it. Perhaps to give a feeling of strength, stability, security.

Velazquez began studying painting with professional teachers when he was 10 (!!) years old. With Pacheco he was from 11 to 17, he finished his studies and received his license to paint.

In Velazquez's time, and I suppose that today among the majority of Catholics in Spain, it is assumed that the night Jesus was born was when he received the adoration of the Magi, Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar and of the shepherds. Therefore, a single act is represented in a single moment, without further complications. And as I write this, it occurs to me that humanity is symbolized or represented by it: shepherds represent a poor part of society, kings represent another rich and cultured part, and shepherds, at the same time, represent those who later They will take care of the flock of God, us, with their priests or shepherds. This is nothing more than my elucubration of this moment.

Well, I do not want to lengthen the topic and the emotion more than necessary for you, for me it is very good if it lasts longer, the longer the mystery lasts, the more things will be sought and the longer we will all be entertained, me too, because I learn things from you and because I discover things that I did not think before. But since you are the important people, when you agree that I say it, I will. Although it is very possible that at any moment someone, with a slightly detective approach, will find or remember that...



Gabriel
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
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2022
To all of you:

You are still far from the point, and I can tell you that it is information that is worth gold, it is really valuable to understand a painting. It is something that applies even today, and it is a very old discovery.

I look at your posts very frequently, and if I don't answer anything, it's because I don't want to fill the post with my comment boxes, it would be unsightly and even an intrusion into a beautiful world of comments and interesting ideas and full of friendship between the participants.

In the meantime, I will say some curious things about the painting.

The model for the Virgin Mary is Juana Pacheco, Velazquez's wife.

Velazquez was 19 or 20 years old when he painted the picture, (!!!!!!!) he was born on June 6, 1599. It is a beautiful day to be born, on the 6th of 6. I was also born that same day, but a few years later.

The wizard king at the bottom left, is Velazquez himself, it is his self-portrait.

Juana Pacheco was the daughter of his teacher, they married in 1617, when she was 15 years old. Therefore, in the painting, Maria is about 17 years old. It is true that her hands in the painting do not correspond to her face. And less with a 16 or 17 year old girl. Knowing that Velazquez corrected his pictures, and this is visible in the x-rays that are made during restorations, and I have them, if he painted and left his hands like that, it is because he wanted to do it. Perhaps to give a feeling of strength, stability, security.

Velazquez began studying painting with professional teachers when he was 10 (!!) years old. With Pacheco he was from 11 to 17, he finished his studies and received his license to paint.

In Velazquez's time, and I suppose that today among the majority of Catholics in Spain, it is assumed that the night Jesus was born was when he received the adoration of the Magi, Melchior, Gaspar and Baltasar and of the shepherds. Therefore, a single act is represented in a single moment, without further complications. And as I write this, it occurs to me that humanity is symbolized or represented by it: shepherds represent a poor part of society, kings represent another rich and cultured part, and shepherds, at the same time, represent those who later They will take care of the flock of God, us, with their priests or shepherds. This is nothing more than my elucubration of this moment.

Well, I do not want to lengthen the topic and the emotion more than necessary for you, for me it is very good if it lasts longer, the longer the mystery lasts, the more things will be sought and the longer we will all be entertained, me too, because I learn things from you and because I discover things that I did not think before. But since you are the important people, when you agree that I say it, I will. Although it is very possible that at any moment someone, with a slightly detective approach, will find or remember that...



Gabriel
Ok Gabriel...just a clue please.
Is the colouration in the piece a clue that we seek? 🤔
 

Camino Chrissy

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From what Gabriel has said in his lengthy post, I am now thinking the answer he is looking for must be a technique of painting, either general or unique to V, and has nothing to do with the Nativity scene itself...possibly this is a clue.?
 
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Bristle Boy

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2022
From what Gabriel has said in his lengthy post, I am now thinking the answer he is looking for must be a technique of painting, either general or unique to V, and has nothing to do with the Nativity scene itself...possibly this is a clue.?
Or it's all in the eyes. 🤔
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
From what Gabriel has said in his lengthy post, I am now thinking the answer he is looking for must be a technique of painting, either general or unique to V, and has nothing to do with the Nativity scene itself...possibly this is a clue.?

Excellent !!, new direction of the search ...


Well ... I have the feeling that I have to be a little nicer to you, for once.

Yes, it is a technique, it is visible, it is very important, and those of you who don´t know it will like to know.
 
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Kathar1na

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Hm ... gold ...? I don't think I would be able to see it ... If that's what it is, then I know about it but I can't see it. 🤭
 
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crounching through all the interesting observations and comments above then - after seeing that very interesting last post by op - I googled velazquez painting techniques. what came up was 'alla prima', a wet on wet tachnique that forced the painter to simplify things in order to get everything done in the amount of time the paint needed to dry. as little paint brushes as possible. that reminded me of those painters that one can see at some events who paint a (usually) big picture of that event in the time the event takes place.
 

Bristle Boy

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Well...all I could think.of at the spur of the moment is...silence is golden. For such a large group there seems to be no vocal engagement and the scene seems to be in silence...a mute depiction.
 
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Kathar1na

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Well, what do I have to lose 🤣? I can only make a fool of myself. Look at what I have drawn. To me, it looks like something ... It would also explain why this adorable infant doesn't seem to have any visible legs.

Rectangles.jpg
 

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Unrelated to what you are looking for, Gabriel, but the baby looks happily engrossed in the man kneeling before him, and the man's face seems to be rather animated as if possibly "talking" baby talk, engaging the child.
 

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Perhaps it could be framing. In his later works, "Las Meninas" for example, there is plenty.
 
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gmag

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Unrelated to what you are looking for, Gabriel, but the baby looks happily engrossed in the man kneeling before him, and the man's face seems to be rather animated as if possibly "talking" baby talk, engaging the child.

Very nice appreciation !, with a precious feeling of Velazquez, knowing that that man who looks at Jesus, one of the wise men, is Velazquez himself, it is his self-portrait.
 
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Really no idea what the sought-after answer is, but I will say that this is one “fabric draping” obsessed piece.
I am aware that the painters of the renaissance demonstrated their talents with the ability to distinguish velvets from silks, brocades and leathers, leathers and suedes in texture, fold, reflection and absorption of light etc. etc.
The lace collar on the Black king is so *very* asynchronous, by a good 1400 years or more, with the birth of Jesus that I can only think that it is there precisely to show that Velasquez can produce such a fanciful embellishment of fabric.
At any rate, he has run the gamut of rough linens for Mary and the baby, leather on the arm of his own self up front, the lace, and both silks and velvets in the cloaks on the kings.
In effect, I see here less of the narrative, and more “look what I can do!”. (And he does it very well).
 

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I see that only Mary and the child have their WHOLE faces illuminated. All others have only partial lighting on the sides of their faces. (Not sure if it's been already mentioned as there are too many to read through again).
 
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Kathar1na

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So is it about ratios of some sort? I can't paint and I don't have a painter's eye but I have a graphics app that lets me cut pieces out of a painting and these all have the same line ratio and they are major parts of the composition of the painting.

Ratios.jpg
 
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gmag

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could the baby be one of their daughters?

Their first daughter was born on May 18, 1619, highly unlikely that she could have been the model.

(Time for the newborn baby to grow up, paint the portrait, let it dry, to correct it, to dry the correction, to dry the entire painting ...

The signature is usually placed when a painting is dry. Velazquez did not paint "a la prima" in one session, he used transparencies, for this he knew exceptionally well the use of varnishes and media, and transparencies, called glazes, can only be applied on a layer of dry paint, they are like a similar effect to use a filter in photography. A unique genius of glazes was also Rembrandt.
 

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The people are the only ones with any color given...everything else painted is bland and colorless...a ratio of light to dark?
 

Kathar1na

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Not far!!! You´re mooving around for a while... 🤣 🤣
This is so tantalising ... the app even lets me experiment with the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Variants, and I would do so if I had any idea of what I was doing. ☺️

Well, you have achieved something. It's no secret that I am mainly interested in the traces of the iconography and the history and the story that a medieval or Renaissance/Baroque painting narrates. I wasn't particularly interested in the Vermeer, ok, an astronomer and some old instruments and clever use of light. I got more interested with the discussion around Las Lanzas and the lines that you showed us there. And now I'm starting to be quite intrigued by it all and to "see" things (let me loosely call it geometry) that I didn't see before ...
 
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gmag

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This is so tantalising ... the app even lets me experiment with the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Variants, and I would do so if I had any idea of what I was doing. ☺️

Well, you have achieved something. It's no secret that I am mainly interested in the traces of the iconography and the history and the story that a medieval or Renaissance/Baroque painting narrates. I wasn't particularly interested in the Vermeer, ok, an astronomer and some old instruments and clever use of light. I got more interested with the discussion around Las Lanzas and the lines that you showed us there. And now I'm starting to be quite intrigued by it all and to "see" things I didn't see before ...

In this life, we have to follow our instincts, even if we don't know how to do it.

There is one thing that we will reproach ourselves in the end, and that is not having been able to start something that we knew we had to do, but letting ourselves be paralyzed by logic ...

At least that's what I think.

This is what we did when we came to Frómista in 2017, when I went to Holland in 1996, when I started to paint in oil in 1976 ...

Maybe in the end everything is a big mess with me, but I will never think that I did not open what seemed like a golden door ...😂
 

Kathar1na

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I meant to say that the art appreciation threads and @gmag's enthusiasm and excellent explanations as well as other contributions to the threads achieved something: they got me interested in something I had not been interested much before. And look what I can do with my graphics app - is it meaningful? This I cannot tell ... but I do like the painting.

Fibonacci.jpg
 
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Bristle Boy

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Hello everyone, I hope and wish you all are well, and your families and friends ...

Well let's go!

I have chosen this painting, also by Velazquez, because it has something that I want to show.

It is only one thing, which we have not talked about in the previous paintings, and it is something very important, and that not all art lovers know, and know how to apply even if they have heard about it.

I want to put more cheerful pictures, they will come, I hope.

Now, I leave you to say anything you think about the painting, it does not have to be the one that has motivated me to put it, there are interesting things to say, of course ... and you and your comments make the post interesting.


Thank you!!
Very good Gabriel,
Do another shortly.....🙂
 

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I'm just a tad confused...are we now finished with this particular art piece?
If we are, that's fine!
Thank you, Gabriel, for giving of yourself with your time, effort, and talent you so willingly share with us. I look forward to new paintings for further discussions...all three have been a treat for me.🙏
 
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gmag

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I meant to say that the art appreciation threads and @gmag's enthusiasm and excellent explanations as well as other contributions to the threads achieved something: they got me interested in something I had not been interested much before. And look what I can do with my graphics app - is it meaningful? This I cannot tell ... but I do like the painting.

View attachment 94559


Kathar1na, interesting, but I think that App is complicating you a lot. There is an easier and more logical way. You have worked a lot on this post, you have been VERY close for a long time, Chenahusky is also close, but I don't want to say it myself, I don't want to take away the pleasure of finally finding it.

I'm going to give you all a hint, I use the 1.618 ratio, and knowing that, I use the 0.618 figure in a way. It may be that I use it 1, 2, 3 or 4 times ... or 2 and 2 ... (I cannot say this, it would be saying everything) with the result I make certain drawings and I have what I am looking for, a "golden" solution. And, as I said in my previous answer, no special knowledge is necessary, just try with the little we know ...
 

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I'm going to give you all a hint, I use the 1.618 ratio, and knowing that, I use the 0.618 figure in a way. It may be that I use it 1, 2, 3 or 4 times ... or 2 and 2 ... (I cannot say this, it would be saying everything) with the result I make certain drawings and I have what I am looking for, a "golden" solution. And, as I said in my previous answer, no special knowledge is necessary, just try with the little we know ...
Gabriel, your words sound like "Greek to me"...I will now stay in the background and watch the grand finale unfold by others more adept than me.🙃
 

Kathar1na

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I think that App is complicating you a lot. There is an easier and more logical way.
Until today, I didn't even know that the app had this feature. I use the app mainly to reduce the (pixel) size of photos before I email them to someone or upload them to the forum. It was fun playing around with it. I've seen these spirals on paintings before and, as I said, in art they don't mean much to me. In mathematics, however ... but that's a different topic altogether. ☺️
 

gmag

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Kathar1na, you are so close that I can wait (I don´t know the others...) if you want to look or think more.
It´s up to you...
 
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So with 0.618 we are looking at the Golden Spiral made of identical Golden rectangles and being very close to Fibonacci Spirals as they converge? I think that I getting to beyond my pay grade!
I am a simple photographer, rather than an artist or mathematician.
 

Kathar1na

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So with 0.618 we are looking at the Golden Spiral made of identical Golden rectangles and being very close to Fibonacci Spirals as they converge? I think that I getting to beyond my pay grade! I am a simple photographer, rather than an artist or mathematician.
I was counting on you and other similarly knowledgeable people to bring this to a conclusion. You brought chiaroscuro and framing into the discussion, all of it new to me. And you had worked out a meaningful decimal fraction while I was still trying to locate a calculator app. ☺️
 
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Chenahusky

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Hi Kathar1na,
Don't diminish your work. I have enjoyed your journey of discovery. My brain is asking me "Can we go and lie down for a while now?" Now we need to know if we are correct. Regards, John.
 

gmag

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Let's go there ...

In Ancient Rome, Vitruvius, a famous archirect, established the Law of the Golden Section, which says:

For a space divided into unequal parts to be pleasant and aesthetic, there must be the same relationship between the smallest and largest parts as between the largest and the whole.

The arithmetic expression for the gold section equals 1.618.

To find this ideal division, you just have to multiply the width of the painting by 0.618 and you get the division of the golden section.

If this operation is repeated for the height of the painting, the ideal point is obtained to place the main element of the painting.

The head of Jesus is at a point in the golden section.

There are four points where the two vertical and horizontal lines intersect, the painter chooses one of them, up or down, to the left or to the right.


This technique has been used in painting for centuries, it was very common in the Baroque, but it is used today, when you want to find the main point of the painting, or one of them, rather.

It can therefore be found in any painting from any period.

In this case, Velazquez wanted to put emphasis on Jesus and not on Maria, and put him in the main point.

Sometimes it is not necessary to make exact measurements, simply with the eyes you can make an approximation.
 

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Chenahusky

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Let's go there ...

In Ancient Rome, Vitruvius, a famous archirect, established the Law of the Golden Section, which says:

For a space divided into unequal parts to be pleasant and aesthetic, there must be the same relationship between the smallest and largest parts as between the largest and the whole.

The arithmetic expression for the gold section equals 1.618.

To find this ideal division, you just have to multiply the width of the painting by 0.618 and you get the division of the golden section.

If this operation is repeated for the height of the painting, the ideal point is obtained to place the main element of the painting.

The head of Jesus is at a point in the golden section.

There are four points where the two vertical and horizontal lines intersect, the painter chooses one of them, up or down, to the left or to the right.


This technique has been used in painting for centuries, it was very common in the Baroque, but it is used today, when you want to find the main point of the painting, or one of them, rather.

It can therefore be found in any painting from any period.

In this case, Velazquez wanted to put emphasis on Jesus and not on Maria, and put him in the main point.

Sometimes it is not necessary to make exact measurements, simply with the eyes you can make an approximation.
Hi and thank you for your good work. I think that if I had approached it as a photographer,, I would have thought of it sooner.
 
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gmag

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Chenausky, I'm sure, Kathar1na and you were about to find it at any moment, it was simply a matter of changing the strategy of how to look at the problem.

That's why I gave the clues about the gold, and about the numbers at the end.

But although I knew that you both had it ready, we could not extend it any longer, the last hours have had to be a bit long for other participants.

Thank you all very much, for your enthusiasm, for searching and finding logical possibilities, almost all possible, even if it was not the point.

This technique of the golden section is one of those things that few art lovers know, and not all artists know how to use or are interested in, and it elevates the artistic knowledge of any amateur or art lover to another higher level.

Thank you all and until next time !!!!!, I'll let you rest for a few days ...
 

Bristle Boy

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I seem to recall a post in this thread that mentioned a foreshadowing. I had a saved a screenshot some time ago that dealt with this (not that it has any other bearing on the topic.)
View attachment 94643
Yes, this was discussed with the Vermeer.
I did mention the lighting as a mechanism to draw the attention to the mother and child which I found was a touch unrealistic in a realist painting.
I have learnt not to ask for clues.
 

Kathar1na

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I seem to recall a post in this thread that mentioned a foreshadowing. I had a saved a screenshot some time ago that dealt with this View attachment 94643
Wow, a cross with the crucified Jesus hanging on the wall above the newborn baby Jesus. That must be unusual. I also noticed the person on the left who is dressed like a pilgrim with hat, staff and scrip, also quite anachronistic and a pointer to things to come. I wonder whether the town in the background is Cologne.
 
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Kathar1na

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This van der Weyden painting was an altarpiece for a church in Cologne. Cologne was at one time the fourth most important destination for Christian pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, after Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago. And the main attraction of Cologne? The precious relics of the Three Kings that are venerated in their huge Gothic cathedral.

One of my plans for the hopefully not so distant future is to go on a guided tour there. The last time I visited it the area behind the huge and exquisite golden shrine was already blocked off to casual visitors because of Corona and only accessible to participants of pre-booked tours and to people who wanted to pray (if I remember correctly what I was told).

Ah, the interconnectedness of all things. 😇
 
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Kathar1na

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Kathar1na and you were about to find it at any moment
@Chenahusky would have or knew already but I would never have found it. I thought of the Golden Ratio as soon as you said in #43 that you can tell us that it is information that "is worth gold". I knew what the reference meant but as I then replied: "If that's what it is, then I know about it but I can't see it."

At the time, I had already used my app, and it had put a Golden Ratio grid of 9 rectangles on the Velaquez painting but I didn't know that it was the points of intersections of the lines that were important for the composition and not the areas of the rectangles and what I could see inside them. That is what I have now learnt ☺️. So thank you. And I have of course already put a grid on the van der Weyden painting. Yep, it could fit, the child's head is quite close to one of the four points. ☺️
 

gmag

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@Chenahusky would have or knew already but I would never have found it. I thought of the Golden Ratio as soon as you said in #43 that you can tell us that it is information that "is worth gold". I knew what the reference meant but as I then replied: "If that's what it is, then I know about it but I can't see it."

At the time, I had already used my app, and it had put a Golden Ratio grid of 9 rectangles on the Velaquez painting but I didn't know that it was the points of intersections of the lines that were important for the composition and not the areas of the rectangles and what I could see inside them. That is what I have now learnt ☺️. So thank you. And I have of course already put a grid on the van der Weyden painting. Yep, it could fit, the child's head is quite close to one of the four points. ☺️
Of course Kathar1na, after giving the solution I went on the internet to see what was said about the golden point and I saw that they only talk about the golden section, which is not the same. I tried to insist on searching with intuition and with a simple mathematical operation and not only with logic or technics (that's why I told something about us), but that possibility was not on the internet ... If I had known, I would have said something like that important is a "point" or something about points... In any case, both of you were very brilliant, and I really found that the solution both of you gave correct enaugh. I already said that it is something that few art lovers and artists know about its existence or how to apply it.

I have to write my personal conclusions about this post, because I have them. I need some time ...



I don't know how much you know about art, but you have the most important thing very developed: the eye, sensitivity, logic and intuition. I have met artists with a good hand but with little eye for art. I have a much better time talking about art with someone who has normal or little knowledge but enough sensitivity, than with someone who knows a lot but without artistic sensitivity. Despite everything, I usually talk very little about art, even with artists, I am much more interested in the human being, history and politics. I usually keep art to myself. Or for when somebody ask me, or in my classes, of course.
 

gmag

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I notice that only the seven main figures seem to be truly lit and have colour. The foreground (bottom right) and background (top left) are muted and tend toward the monochrome.
David, Velazquez was an exceptional portraitist since he was a child, this is written in the memoirs of Francisco Pacheco, his teacher. The portrait was what he was always most interested in. The contrast between light and shadow is also part of his art sense, even from the beginning.

A dark background can be the best way to paint light, it is even a difficult way, you have to master the painting extremely, the color harmonies, you have to know how the color of a human skin goes from light, with its hot tones , in the shade, with its cold tones, and the most difficult of all ... the transition zones from light to shade or vice versa. If it is not done perfectly well, something strange is noticed (strange for those who do not know it, ugly or bad for those of us who know and see it) and the perfect volume effect is not achieved, it is the transition that really makes the shape. Something similar happens with a landscape, it is more difficult to paint well the imprecise and mysterious lights of a cold-color sunset than the bright and familiar colors of a sunny day.

For this reason, the dark background can be very seductive, and looking for almost invisible forms in such a background is not only a pleasure very often, it is also a way of discovering things that perhaps do not exist in the painting, but that when discovering them “ we personalize the painting as ours ”, and we already like it more…, many painters know it and leave their paintings for others to“ finish ”them in their brains, it is a subtle and effective strategy.

And as I said before, darkness can isolate colors very well, not just light, and make them more beautiful.

Something like this happens in a yellow and dry field of the Meseta, if there are many poppies together, we think it is nice, but if there is only one red poppy ... it is a beautiful, unique, almost heroic poppy! Painters knows ...
 
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Kathar1na

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the solution
One important aspect is the synergy that is created by the contributions of every participant in the thread. The most casual remark can lead us into an interesting direction. I enjoy this.

As to your question, I probably know more about geometry and mathematics than visual art ☺️. On the way to Santiago, I developed quite a passion for Romanesque sculpture and architecture. I love the serenity and harmony and I am intrigued by the iconography. For me, it opens a window into the world and the minds of people so long ago.

The first painting that made a lasting impression on me was the Stuppach Madonna from the early 1500s. I now see that the heads of the Child and of the Madonna are not in the middle of the painting but on symmetrical opposite sides of the upper left golden point. But the head of the Madonna is also on one of the four diagonals that my app proposes when I choose a different option, it's just above one of the intersections of the four diagonals. Unlike the Velazquez painting, the length of the sides of the frame are not "golden". I guess there is more than one way to appeal to our sense of aesthetics and beauty. ☺️
 
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Kathar1na

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I know that the thread ought to come to a close but I just have to share this.

I like to download images of paintings from the Webgallery site because the colours are more true and the resolution is higher. I noticed that their description of the painting that @Rick of Rick and Peg posted identifies the person on the left in the red coat as Joseph and so do other websites, apparently. For me, there is no doubt that it is a medieval pilgrim and not Joseph. Not only hat, staff and scrip show this but also the long road behind him, leading to the town and out of it and up and through the hills. But look at his shoes! Leather on wood with straps. There is a copy of this painting, attributed to Memling, where the details of the shoes are better to see. One can also see that he has just arrived, look at the left foot.

And sorry for the side track but we on the forum are after all always interested in pilgrim gear. 😆

Memling shoe copy RvdW.jpg
 
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gmag

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I know that the thread ought to come to a close but I just have to share this.

I like to download images of paintings from the Webgallery site because the colours are more true and the resolution is higher. I noticed that their description of the painting that @Rick of Rick and Peg posted identifies the person on the left in the red coat as Joseph and so do other websites, apparently. For me, there is no doubt that it is a medieval pilgrim and not Joseph. Not only hat, staff and scrip show this but also the long road behind him, leading to the town and out of it and up and through the hills. But look at his shoes! Leather on wood with straps. There is a copy of this painting, attributed to Memling, where the details of the shoes are better to see. One can also see that he has just arrived, look at the left foot.

And sorry for the side track but we on the forum are after all always interested in pilgrim gear. 😆

View attachment 94664
This painting is in Madrid! It is a copy of an original that is in the Old Pinakothek in Munich. The truth is that San José is a strange one, it could be what you say, why not.

I think it is good to give all kinds of ideas, even if they are not the main subject and as long as they are not simply funny absurdities that empty any subject of content; everything can expand the perspectives and enrich.
 

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CWBuff

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And this is what I googled: When did the 3 men arrive? The answer is: It is not known. Various calculation have been made. Anything between the time of birth and the move to Egypt is possible, with the age of Jesus ranging from 0-2 years. 8-10 months became popular.

if Velazquez were commissioned to paint the story today, how would he solve it? And who would he chose as his models? 🤔🤭🙂
Read Mathew

The gospel of Matthew tells us that later some magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem asking where would the king of the Jews be born? (Matthew 2:1-3) The Roman governor, Herod the Great, asked the Jewish chief priests and scribes where He would be born. After the Jewish chief priests and scribes searched the Scriptures they told Herod and the magi the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-8).

Consequently, the magi followed the light in the sky. It led them to the city of Bethlehem and to the place where Jesus was living with His parents.

Verse 11 states that Jesus was living in a house. This reveals that Jesus’ parents had moved to a house. Contrary to popular nativity scenes and paintings, Christ was now living in a house when the magi visited Him. His parents had moved from the location of the manger to this house. There were no shepherds or angels when the magi stopped to worship Him and give Him gifts.

Verses 13-14 state that the magi left and Joseph was warned in a dream to take his family to Egypt. It is difficult to know how much time had elapsed between the magi’s arrival in Jerusalem and their visit to the house. But it is highly unlikely that the events happened quickly.

Matthew 2:16 tells us that when Herod realized that the magi had not returned to tell him the exact location of where the Christ was living, he ordered every child two years old and younger to be murdered.
Verse 16 and verse 2 tell us that Herod the Great had determined that the magi had seen the star two years earlier. Consequently, Herod murdered all children from two years of age and under. This would reveal that Jesus was about two years of age when the magi visited Him.


That said and back to the subject of painting and the painter... I don't knw about y'all but I will never "look" at Velasquez again with the same eyes after watching El ministerio del tiempo 🤪
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Read Mathew

The gospel of Matthew tells us that later some magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem asking where would the king of the Jews be born? (Matthew 2:1-3) The Roman governor, Herod the Great, asked the Jewish chief priests and scribes where He would be born. After the Jewish chief priests and scribes searched the Scriptures they told Herod and the magi the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:4-8).

Consequently, the magi followed the light in the sky. It led them to the city of Bethlehem and to the place where Jesus was living with His parents.

Verse 11 states that Jesus was living in a house. This reveals that Jesus’ parents had moved to a house. Contrary to popular nativity scenes and paintings, Christ was now living in a house when the magi visited Him. His parents had moved from the location of the manger to this house. There were no shepherds or angels when the magi stopped to worship Him and give Him gifts.

Verses 13-14 state that the magi left and Joseph was warned in a dream to take his family to Egypt. It is difficult to know how much time had elapsed between the magi’s arrival in Jerusalem and their visit to the house. But it is highly unlikely that the events happened quickly.

Matthew 2:16 tells us that when Herod realized that the magi had not returned to tell him the exact location of where the Christ was living, he ordered every child two years old and younger to be murdered.
Verse 16 and verse 2 tell us that Herod the Great had determined that the magi had seen the star two years earlier. Consequently, Herod murdered all children from two years of age and under. This would reveal that Jesus was about two years of age when the magi visited Him.


That said and back to the subject of painting and the painter... I don't knw about y'all but I will never "look" at Velasquez again with the same eyes after watching El ministerio del tiempo 🤪
You say:

“ to the place where Jesus was living with His parents.

Verse 11 states that Jesus was living in a house. This reveals that Jesus’ parents had moved to a house. Contrary to popular nativity scenes and paintings, Christ was now living in a house when the magi visited Him. His parents had moved from the location of the manger to this house.”


I disagree, the Bible does not say exactly that. Bible says:

"Until the star came to stand on top of the place where the child was."

THE PLACE WHERE THE CHILD WAS. It is not the same to be in a place than to live in it.

If the star had been in the place where the child lived, would have said the place where the child lived.

Sometimes I am in the Canal de Castilla, because I do not live in it, if I lived in it I would say that I live in the Canal de Castilla.

Then he says "and when they werearriving, they saw the child with Maria, his mother ..."

It is assumed that he was born in a portal, and a portal is what is on the outside of a house, so it fits the logic that they saw him when they were arriving, because he was outside the house, it does not say that they saw him inside the house, or in the house, or in his house… there is nothing to suggest that he lived in a house or that he was inside any house.

On the other hand, Saint Mark does not speak of the Birth of Jesus, Saint Lucas does, but only mentions angels and shepherds, not kings or magicians, and Saint John does not speak of the Birth either.

Another different thing is that Herod wanted to kill all the children under two years of age, in that it is clearly stated in the Bible that there was a time between his birth, that the magi came to Bethlehem and left it, and it may be that they passed several months.

It is a tradition, it seems to me a beautiful tradition, one of the mos beautifull traditions in the Bible or even the most, and I do not like the idea of rationalizing and reviewing cultural traditions that do not harm anyone, cultural traditions are fundamental for human beings, they are our roots. For every culture. And I do not speak as a believer, I only defend the logic of the iconography and art.
 
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Kathar1na

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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I half regret now that I tried to provide a very short explanation when posters expressed surprise about the age of the child in the Velazquez painting. I am aware that there is interest if not obsession with historical accuracy and literal texts in the Bible. But that is irrelevant in this context. As @gmag says, an artist such as Velazquez and many others expresses the thinking, the feeling, the traditions, the culture of his time and of the environment surrounding him and the many forms of impact and influence that he receives and transmits and helps to shape through his creative work.
 
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CWBuff

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Agree with above posts made by @C clearly and @Kathar1na
The only reason I mentioned the passage from The Bible was to point out that it can be reasonably come to the age in question by looking at the passages.
That said - in the context of the painting - yeah.... God only knows how many paintings, frescoes, mosaics I have seen (esp while doing Mediterranean Cruise in Nov 19 and hitting every church, basilica, cathedral etc I could...) where John The Baptist looks like he could be Mary's Grandfather ;)
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Agree with above posts made by @C clearly and @Kathar1na
The only reason I mentioned the passage from The Bible was to point out that it can be reasonably come to the age in question by looking at the passages.
That said - in the context of the painting - yeah.... God only knows how many paintings, frescoes, mosaics I have seen (esp while doing Mediterranean Cruise in Nov 19 and hitting every church, basilica, cathedral etc I could...) where John The Baptist looks like he could be Mary's Grandfather ;)
To a large extent I agree with you, I have not wanted to make a problem either, I simply give an opinion that may be to agree or not, and reason it. In fact, where I do see the possibility of the two years of Jesus is, as I said, in the Gospel of Saint Luke.
I do not know if I have answered unfriendly, it may be, it is not the same to think in one language, write in another, do it very quickly, and not see each other's faces, it is the problem of the Internet.
If I have been unfriendly, provocative or anything else possible, but out of my intention, I apologize publicly. To you and to everyone. And of course also to the moderator, if I have put him in an uncomfortable situation.
Gabriel
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
I half regret now that I tried to provide a very short explanation when posters expressed surprise about the age of the child in the Velazquez painting. I am aware that there is interest if not obsession with historical accuracy and literal texts in the Bible. But that is irrelevant in this context. As @gmag says, an artist such as Velazquez and many others expresses the thinking, the feeling, the traditions, the culture of his time and of the environment surrounding him and the many forms of impact and influence that he receives and transmits and helps to shape through his creative work.
You do not have to regret anything, everything you did was correct, absolutely correct, it was a logical appreciation.
 
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