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

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
NEW PAINTING TO MAKE SOME MEMBERS OF THE IVAR FORUM SUFFER...

Advice: do not look for anything, let your eyes move everywhere, without thinking too much, so that things start to speak by themselves ... a painting has to speak to us.

Often, if we use our logic, we see what we know or what we believe to be, and not what is outside of us.

In painting also listening in silence is the best way to understand.

It is a fairly easy picture for you.

Is from Velazquez. Is not as charming as Vermeer's but it has other things ...


Velázquez_-_de_Breda_o_Las_Lanzas_(Muse (2).jpg
 
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henrythedog

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Year of past OR future Camino
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OK, I’ll go first.

There’s a ‘after the battle’ theme here, although the guys on the left - obviously handing over a key, so a town or fortification has been conceded - don’t exactly look like they’ve put a full shift in.

For what one assumes are recently battling forces, it seems quite friendly. If I were the winning General, disarming the other guys would be high on my list.

There’s a great spiky ‘we’re in charge’ vibe coming from the erect phalanx of pike on the right.

I’m familiar with a few of Velazquez’ works as I’ve spent many a day in the Museo del Prado, but this doesn’t really grab me as much as his other work.

I don’t like the huge horse’s arse on the right. It’s just a big block of brown.
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I'll put my second two penny worth in.
It looks like a painting in two halves. The victors on the right and vanquished on the left providing a frame for the main subject. The line on each side leads you to the two main subjects. The victorious side is depicted in a bigger form...taller lances/bigger horse/The right hand figure standing taller than the left.
 

Camino Chrissy

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*Possibly fires in villages in the far background.
*The man on the left in the white shirt is downtrodden and is being consoled.
*The center man in black is obviously the leader of the winning side, and is carrying what appears to be a viewing scope.
*No uniforms, but wearing white ruffs.
* Men on the left appear to be younger than those on the right.
*I found it interesting that there is only one horse on each side depicted.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
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I think those guys looking out at us is a little sinister, or at least creepy.
I noticed that, too. It was almost as if the Velazquez was there with a camera and they looked up at it as they heard it "click".
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2017
Oh, @gmag... you "went there". :(

Okay, here is my minor opinion:

1) It is a "patronage work" - obviously. The faces on the right hand side, donned of Spanish armor, are so meticulously drawn as to be meant to be clearly representative of real persons and not some abstract theme drawn from the crowd..

2) It is a political work - obviously. The Spanish, on the right, just look so GREAT.

And, yes, let us call attention to the rear end of a horse plus the capacious saddle on it's back to suggest that "Yessir, Spanish warhorses are well-muscled and terribly broad!" The horse on the Dutch side is painted almost to the point of effeminacy, though masterfully.

Quick quiz? "How does B know that it is a Dutch side on the left, without being an art scholar?" [Look at the standards hanging off the lances, and pike/axes...]

2a) Whatever battle it was must have been a terribly devastating one. I do not see a bucolic background. Rather, I see a LOT of smoke suggesting that much of the countryside has been razed. The absence of blood in the foreground suggests that the whole battle was being "sanitized" for public consumption. And the wall of perfectly upright (most anyway) lances is about as crass as chanting "We're Number 1!" incessantly. And, to me, that is THE key feature in this work.

One has to remember that Spain was entering decline about the time of Velasquez's prime. To me, this looks like wartime propaganda in oil.

Finally, I do not like it. (In case dear reader had not guessed already.;))

I stand ready to be corrected and/or culturally educated.

B

[Edit: Okay, having decided that I would have nothing more to say on this painting, I researched it. I can find nothing in my researches that dissuade me from my main points Apparently, "the critics" hail this as one of, if not THE best, of Velasquez's works. So I do have one more thing to say: "Critics are not exempt from stupidity." :mad: Okay, NOW, I am done!]
 
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gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Well, I wanted to talk about painting and not about politics. There are very interesting things in this painting, apart from what it represents, or whether it is by Velazquez.

Speaking about the subject, (that I did not want to go into it, since the subjects of the paintings almost never interest me because what interests me is the technique, the aesthetics, the use of color, which are the things that represent themselves in the evolution of painting), the painting represents the surrender of the city of Breda. It was a battle that lasted two years, and this painting is the first painting in the history of painting that represents a surrender in which the humiliated loser is not painted on his knees, and that is the gesture that Spinola, the Spanish general, has, holding him by the shoulder so that he does not kneel.

You can also see a Dutch soldier with his weapon, it is true, in that surrender they were allowed to leave the city with their flags and their weapons, something that was never done. I also have to say that it was normal practice for the victorious army to enter the city and loot it, in this case Spinola prohibited that and the city was respected. I also want to say that the practice of looting was normal at the time and in all countries, it was not a practice of Spanish savages. He painted the Spanish for what they were, old war veterans, the Dutch look younger, and the nobles that are seen behind the Spanish general are the generals who accompanied him, it is not strange that they are painted.

The two figures that look at the ends are a normal practice in the Baroque, and they serve to communicate with the viewer, and to serve as a barrier so that the eyes do not look for what is outside the painting to the right and left, the one who looks to the right is Velazquez himself.

The central element of the painting is the key to the city, and the motif of the painting is what I said, the feeling of respect for courage and of friendship and nobility. The painting was commissioned by the king, of course, and Olivares, a kind of president of the government, asked Velazquez to paint at least the lances, to represent the strength of the victor, Velazquez had to do it, he was the official painter of the king and his freedom regarding his paintings had its limits.

I have chosen this painting for the technical and aesthetic reasons that I said above, hoping to reach interesting conclusions, and thinking that it would serve as a link with a later one, but I think I was wrong.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I love the look of those soft leather boots and the fabric on the two central characters, but why do the guys have such small heads?

What is the paper in the lower right corner?
I think those guys looking out at us is a little sinister, or at least creepy.
Isn't it a common feature to have a character acknowledging us?

I do not like it.
Aside from providing some historical record (or at least one interpretation thereof), it doesn't really appeal to me. I would not choose to put it on my wall.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
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I have chosen this painting for the technical and aesthetic reasons that I said above, hoping to reach interesting conclusions, and thinking that it would serve as a link with a later one, but I think I was wrong.
You are not wrong; there have been some interesting observations so far. Not all paintings will appeal to everyone, but it's your decision to choose which one you want to focus on and those of us who participate should respect that as you put in time and effort in preparation.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Velazquez. Is not as charming as Vermeer's but it has other things ...
Without reading other replies so as not to influence my response...

I find my eye circling, anti-clockwise from the centre outwards and then back in again: the key, the hat, the bloody cloth (!??...Ick, if that's what it is), the warhorse's rump, the lances, the smoke in the background, then down to the pikes and the guys on the left-hand side of the scene, finally back to the fellow surrendering the key. The light background behind the key keeps pulling my eye there. If I try to reverse the sequence of looking at everything surrounding that key— going clockwise — my eye resists it.

(Obviously it's a battle/surrender scene, but I have to say that nobody looks like they've been doing much fighting, because they're way too clean. Even the horse looks shining and freshly brushed, all the way down to the fetlocks.)

Edit ~
the painting represents the surrender of the city of Breda.
Ah. That explains the clean clothes. It's the end of a siege rather than a hand-to-hand battle.

500 year-old politics aside (I'm not going there), I'm curious about the use of light and color here. When I squint at the painting with almost completely closed eyes, darker colors are more on the right side, and the lighter ones are more on the left — giving weight to the side of the victors. I'm not sure if this is why my eye and stye move in that direction or whether it's all the action behind the main Spanish protagonist, that huge horse facing away, and all the lances...
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
My only other observations would be that it appears to be a propaganda piece (as previously mentioned)and a sympathetic interpretation at that.
Many of the messages it wants to convey are very subtle even down to which side of the painting the two sides occupy..right being dextra (dextrous) and the left sinistra (sinister)...I suspect it was heavily laden with positive and negative messages. The numerous background images of settlements in flames seem to be more representative of a destructive, cleansing element than the foreground seems to suggest.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
I think it´s interesting how the chonky horse´s back makes almost the exact same line as the arms of the guys in the centre. A similar shape appears with another guy's shoulder and the left horse.

Kinda like this, the image goes in waves for me.
horse-rears.png
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I think it´s interesting how the chonky horse´s back makes almost the exact same line as the shake hands of the guys in the centre. A similar shape appears with another guy's shoulder and the left horse.

Kinda like this, the image goes in waves for me.
View attachment 90037
What a brilliant observation. Perhaps the orientation of the horses rear end facing the defeated is a message also.
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Well, I wanted to talk about painting and not about politics. There are very interesting things in this painting, apart from what it represents, or whether it is by Velazquez.

Speaking about the subject, (that I did not want to go into it, since the subjects of the paintings almost never interest me because what interests me is the technique, the aesthetics, the use of color, which are the things that represent themselves in the evolution of painting), the painting represents the surrender of the city of Breda. It was a battle that lasted two years, and this painting is the first painting in the history of painting that represents a surrender in which the humiliated loser is not painted on his knees, and that is the gesture that Spinola, the Spanish general, has, holding him by the shoulder so that he does not kneel.

You can also see a Dutch soldier with his weapon, it is true, in that surrender they were allowed to leave the city with their flags and their weapons, something that was never done. I also have to say that it was normal practice for the victorious army to enter the city and loot it, in this case Spinola prohibited that and the city was respected. I also want to say that the practice of looting was normal at the time and in all countries, it was not a practice of Spanish savages. He painted the Spanish for what they were, old war veterans, the Dutch look younger, and the nobles that are seen behind the Spanish general are the generals who accompanied him, it is not strange that they are painted.

The two figures that look at the ends are a normal practice in the Baroque, and they serve to communicate with the viewer, and to serve as a barrier so that the eyes do not look for what is outside the painting to the right and left, the one who looks to the right is Velazquez himself.

The central element of the painting is the key to the city, and the motif of the painting is what I said, the feeling of respect for courage and of friendship and nobility. The painting was commissioned by the king, of course, and Olivares, a kind of president of the government, asked Velazquez to paint at least the lances, to represent the strength of the victor, Velazquez had to do it, he was the official painter of the king and his freedom regarding his paintings had its limits.

I have chosen this painting for the technical and aesthetic reasons that I said above, hoping to reach interesting conclusions, and thinking that it would serve as a link with a later one, but I think I was wrong.
I, too, noticed the hand of the victor on the shoulder. At first glance it appeared as a sympathetic action. I am undecided whether it be that of assisting him up or assisting him down to the kneeling position thereby asserting his dominance. My instinct is to the latter.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Perhaps the orientation of the horses rear end facing the defeated is a message also.
@simply B mentioned above about the horses and I kinda agree. The Dutch horse is delicate, while the Spanish horse has a Kardashianesque rear. And as you said, the Spanish horse is showing his back to the defeated - as if they were surely not a threath anymore.
 

Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
@simply B mentioned above about the horses and I kinda agree. The Dutch horse is delicate, while the Spanish horse has a Kardashianesque rear. And as you said, the Spanish horse is showing his back to the defeated - as if they were surely not a threath anymore.
I think the imagery of the right (the victors) being more powerful/bigger/stronger than the vanquished is, of course, intentional.

Edit: "Kardashianesque rear"...love it. 🤣
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
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I, too, wonder why there is a piece of paper in the bottom right corner. It is delierate. You can see the folds as if an open book or sheet of paper, and it is positioned vertically upright against a rock. Is it a map, a letter, orders?
I thought it strange, too, but dismissed it. It does look as if it was a folded piece of paper, but as if standing up floating in mid-air, not laying on the rock. I've no clue. Possibly he forgot to put his signature on it.🙃
 
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walkingstu

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Perhaps the focal point in the painting is the horses arse. The back ground shows fires are still burning, suggesting the battle is still being fought. But the outcome decided. Peasants are dying. Yet the aristocrats are in fine form, neither side appears the worse for wear. They have no sweat equity in the outcome. If the venture fails they will regroup, rebuild, refinance, and roll the dice again. Velasquez, could have painted this scene as two sides over a card table. A satisfied winner and a good loser. At this time the two primary employers were the Church and the Military, both fully invested in war. Perhaps Velasquez was hiding a political comment on the aristocratic system of government.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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It could also be a folded handkerchief.
This one looks a bit more realistic in its placement on a rock...still a very strange thing to put in the corner whether paper or handkerchief...I'm sure there is some significance.
 
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Bristle Boy

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
To me it looks like the two horses in the Breda painting are front and back views of the same horse, the one Philip is riding.
I have looked at the images of Philip IV and there is a point....there is a similarity. This may be because he was familiar with the horse or, perhaps, a nod to the king.
As with the paper...there may have been secret messages within his works....🤔
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
To me it looks like the two horses in the Breda painting are front and back views of the same horse, the one Philip is riding.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excellent appreciation !!! I also saw it one day, in the early 80's, when observing this painting I began to see things, lines, balances... and I discovered what a genius in painting can do and why he is a genius. Later, with the practice of painting, I also discovered that sometimes you have to paint things that seem strange but are necessary to achieve a result.

The idea of the unique horse I have not seen yet anywhere, in any criticism or comment on the painting. But it is evident, white legs, brown and black hair ..., and also the little part that we see of the Nassau horse's saddle is the same as Spinola's saddle, same saddle too. I think that the idea of seeing the face of the horse of which we only see the back is very charming and interesting, it is almost surrealistic, it could be Dali's.

I'm very happy, it's what I want, that you see the things and without my help or with very little.

This is a painting full of details, I learned to look thanks to Velazquez, and for having so many things and for not being so complicated to see, at the same time that it is not so easy, is why I have chosen it.

I don't want to show what I know, I want you to know what you are capable of knowing and see. Looking at a painting is not that difficult, you just have to know certain things, and you are on the right direction ...
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
This one looks a bit more realistic in its placement on a rock...still a very strange thing to put in the corner whether paper or handkerchief...I'm sure there is some significance.

You're right Camino Chrissy, there's a reason. Velazquez was in Italy when he was young, there he saw numerous examples of this. For two centuries before Velazquez, some Italian artists painted a paper, like those of Velazqez, and on it they wrote there signature.

Those of Velazquez are always empty, it is not known exactly why, but it is supposed that it could be because he thought that his signature was in his brushstrokes, which is true.
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
@simply B mentioned above about the horses and I kinda agree. The Dutch horse is delicate, while the Spanish horse has a Kardashianesque rear. And as you said, the Spanish horse is showing his back to the defeated - as if they were surely not a threath anymore.
Or even worse... Kardashian has a Spanish horse rear
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
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Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
The Spaniards wear darker colours than the Dutch.
Following with this. Philip 2th imposed the black in Spain as the supreme elegance for men. The black colour was also a symbol of superiority. In opposition the protestants wore colourful in England and the Netherlands.
 
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Harlan Sager

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I am fascinated by the volume of responses. My question is where does one find this painting along the Camino?
 

Terri B

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1998 St Cuthberts Way, 1999 West Highland Way, 2016 & 2019 SJPDP to Santiago, 2020 Porto to Santiago
Sorry, I know Velazquez painted many wonderful paintings, and I've seen many of them in galleries around the world, but the first thing that always springs to mind when I hear his name is an episode of the fabulous British comedy The Goodies!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
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And the attire of the many aristocrats that Velazquez painted remind me of some episodes of the British sitcom "Blackadder"...a bit off topic perhaps.
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
I am fascinated by the volume of responses. My question is where does one find this painting along the Camino?
Hello Harlan the painting is in Madrid,
I am fascinated by the volume of responses. My question is where does one find this painting along the Camino?

Hello Harlan, the painting is in the Prado Museum, in Madrid, this means that it is on the Camino de Madrid, first etapa, so it is possible to see it if you do this way, and spend some day in Madrid before starting.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
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Hello Harlan the painting is in Madrid,


Hello Harlan, the painting is in the Prado Museum, in Madrid, this means that it is on the Camino de Madrid, first etapa, so it is possible to see it if you do this way, and spend some day in Madrid before starting.
Even after five various Caminos; four of them flying into Madrid before beginning, I have not spent any time in that city which I hear is wonderful...next time I will plan to spend a few days there before I begin...hopefully in 2021. I will be sure to visit the Prado museum as it has become a more personal destination for me because of your influence.
 
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Well, I wanted to talk about painting and not about politics. There are very interesting things in this painting, apart from what it represents, or whether it is by Velazquez.

Speaking about the subject, (that I did not want to go into it, since the subjects of the paintings almost never interest me because what interests me is the technique, the aesthetics, the use of color, which are the things that represent themselves in the evolution of painting), the painting represents the surrender of the city of Breda. It was a battle that lasted two years, and this painting is the first painting in the history of painting that represents a surrender in which the humiliated loser is not painted on his knees, and that is the gesture that Spinola, the Spanish general, has, holding him by the shoulder so that he does not kneel.

You can also see a Dutch soldier with his weapon, it is true, in that surrender they were allowed to leave the city with their flags and their weapons, something that was never done. I also have to say that it was normal practice for the victorious army to enter the city and loot it, in this case Spinola prohibited that and the city was respected. I also want to say that the practice of looting was normal at the time and in all countries, it was not a practice of Spanish savages. He painted the Spanish for what they were, old war veterans, the Dutch look younger, and the nobles that are seen behind the Spanish general are the generals who accompanied him, it is not strange that they are painted.

The two figures that look at the ends are a normal practice in the Baroque, and they serve to communicate with the viewer, and to serve as a barrier so that the eyes do not look for what is outside the painting to the right and left, the one who looks to the right is Velazquez himself.

The central element of the painting is the key to the city, and the motif of the painting is what I said, the feeling of respect for courage and of friendship and nobility. The painting was commissioned by the king, of course, and Olivares, a kind of president of the government, asked Velazquez to paint at least the lances, to represent the strength of the victor, Velazquez had to do it, he was the official painter of the king and his freedom regarding his paintings had its limits.

I have chosen this painting for the technical and aesthetic reasons that I said above, hoping to reach interesting conclusions, and thinking that it would serve as a link with a later one, but I think I was wrong.
Oh, @gmag... You were not "wrong"! Your title for your post is "NEW PAINTING TO MAKE SOME MEMBERS OF THE IVAR FORUM SUFFER..."

Soooo, you succeeded! ;)

My apologies if you took my reaction too much to heart as it relates to the painting itself and NOT your earnest efforts to educate and entertain us.

By way of explanation...the visual arts fascinate me though I have no talent for them aside from minor, and long ago, awards for B & W photography.

The "heroic" art form always seems to me to be part of the victors re-writing of history. (Even though I adore J-L David's style, even some of his works gets me dyspeptic. And, yes, I DO realize that even the most talented artists had to take commissions to eat back then - - but I do not have to spend time on those pieces now.)

Having haunted art museums, when the opportunity presented over the last 50 years, it has been my experience to find myself drawn to studies of the intimate...or the natural world...or people just being people in social settings. As someone once said, "The happy pages of history are blank." But there is a significant body of the visual arts to fill in those gaps.

By all means, carry on with your efforts as you have time, @gmag! I will endeavor to keep my art-heathen demons in check from here on.😛

B
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Without reading other replies so as not to influence my response...

I find my eye circling, anti-clockwise from the centre outwards and then back in again: the key, the hat, the bloody cloth (!??...Ick, if that's what it is), the warhorse's rump, the lances, the smoke in the background, then down to the pikes and the guys on the left-hand side of the scene, finally back to the fellow surrendering the key. The light background behind the key keeps pulling my eye there. If I try to reverse the sequence of looking at everything surrounding that key— going clockwise — my eye resists it.

(Obviously it's a battle/surrender scene, but I have to say that nobody looks like they've been doing much fighting, because they're way too clean. Even the horse looks shining and freshly brushed, all the way down to the fetlocks.)

Edit ~

Ah. That explains the clean clothes. It's the end of a siege rather than a hand-to-hand battle.

500 year-old politics aside (I'm not going there), I'm curious about the use of light and color here. When I squint at the painting with almost completely closed eyes, darker colors are more on the right side, and the lighter ones are more on the left — giving weight to the side of the victors. I'm not sure if this is why my eye and stye move in that direction or whether it's all the action behind the main Spanish protagonist, that huge horse facing away, and all the lances...

Excellent answer. That is the way of looking, and consequently, of seeing.

The horse looks at us, as you have explained very well. I find it fascinating how Velazquez has made two circles at the same time. One is the one you have described, and another is horizontal, a circle at the height of the heads or chests of the characters, which is a circle suggested by the horses.

On the winners side there is a perspective towards the bottom and the center, in my opinion suggested in a curious way, almost imperceptible, but which fascinated me when I discovered it. For the moment I leave it like that ...

The painting is painted with very diluted paint, it is almost transparent throughout the painting.

Velazquez used very few colors, lead white, lead yellow, lapis lazuli, azurite, blue enamel, vermilion, animal red lacquer, ocher and organic and animal black. His greens are one of the three blues and lead yellow, mixed with some ocher, or black, or white, or with several of these at the same time, to give the green a grayer tone.
 

gmag

Active Member
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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Oh, @gmag... You were not "wrong"! Your title for your post is "NEW PAINTING TO MAKE SOME MEMBERS OF THE IVAR FORUM SUFFER..."

Soooo, you succeeded! ;)

My apologies if you took my reaction too much to heart as it relates to the painting itself and NOT your earnest efforts to educate and entertain us.

By way of explanation...the visual arts fascinate me though I have no talent for them aside from minor, and long ago, awards for B & W photography.

The "heroic" art form always seems to me to be part of the victors re-writing of history. (Even though I adore J-L David's style, even some of his works gets me dyspeptic. And, yes, I DO realize that even the most talented artists had to take commissions to eat back then - - but I do not have to spend time on those pieces now.)

Having haunted art museums, when the opportunity presented over the last 50 years, it has been my experience to find myself drawn to studies of the intimate...or the natural world...or people just being people in social settings. As someone once said, "The happy pages of history are blank." But there is a significant body of the visual arts to fill in those gaps.

By all means, carry on with your efforts as you have time, @gmag! I will endeavor to keep my art-heathen demons in check from here on.😛

B

Hello Simply B, thank you for what you said.

You cannot say that you are not talented if you have won some photography awards, maybe you want to say that you would like to have more talent, the same thing happens to me.

I recognize that the painting is not the most cheerful, attractive and beautiful, that is true.

I also prefer more natural and human subjects, history painting interests me only from the point of view of its technique or isolating the portraits that are in it, sometimes very interesting.

In any case, I'm glad to see you around here, and already knowing your pagan demons, I'll know when Simply B speaks and when a demon speaks, and it will help me to survive them ...
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
I'll put my second two penny worth in.
It looks like a painting in two halves. The victors on the right and vanquished on the left providing a frame for the main subject. The line on each side leads you to the two main subjects. The victorious side is depicted in a bigger form...taller lances/bigger horse/The right hand figure standing taller than the left.

Well said, if we eliminate the upper third, the lower third, the left third and the right third, we only have the central rectangle,I did that a few days ago, and I was surprised that the result is a beautiful painting in itself. As you said, the center of interest is surrounded by a frame.

Velázquez_-_de_Breda_o_Las_Lanzas  crop.jpg
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
*Possibly fires in villages in the far background.
*The man on the left in the white shirt is downtrodden and is being consoled.
*The center man in black is obviously the leader of the winning side, and is carrying what appears to be a viewing scope.
*No uniforms, but wearing white ruffs.
* Men on the left appear to be younger than those on the right.
*I found it interesting that there is only one horse on each side depicted.

Good observation, the Dutch are younger, the Spaniards are old professional soldiers, veterans of many wars. This Breda war is part of the 30 Years' War in much of Europe.
 
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Camino Chrissy

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Question, @gmag...
When I first saw the victor's sash, and as @VNwalking has noted, I thought it possibly had blood on it, but then near his shoulder it looked more a solid color and pattern, so I doubted and assumed it was just the fabric color as it also has an unsoiled gold lace trim. In addition his ruff is white and not soiled. I am wondering what your opinion is of the sash.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
I love the look of those soft leather boots and the fabric on the two central characters, but why do the guys have such small heads?

What is the paper in the lower right corner?

Isn't it a common feature to have a character acknowledging us?


Aside from providing some historical record (or at least one interpretation thereof), it doesn't really appeal to me. I would not choose to put it on my wall.

In this period of art, painting or drawing long figures gave them a more spiritual character, or more elegant, in any case more aesthetic, it was an opinion. For example, El Greco, famous for his very elongated figures, which gives them a very spiritual aspect. For a long time it was believed that it was due to a vision problem, but it was, more possibly, because of the influence that Michelangelo had on him. The general concept was of 8 heads in a perfect human body, but Miguel Angel said that not 8, but 10 or even 12. Velazquez's figures in this painting have approximately 10. Velazquez drew very well, that deformation was intentional.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Question, @gmag...
When I first saw the victor's sash, and as @VNwalking has noted, I thought it possibly had blood on it, but then near his shoulder it looked more a solid color and pattern, so I doubted and assumed it was just the fabric color as it also has an unsoiled gold lace trim. In addition his ruff is white and not soiled. I am wondering what your opinion is of the sash.
Yes, is the sash of General.
 

Anamya

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I will be sure to visit the Prado museum as it has become a more personal destination for me because of your influence.
I´ve been to Marid three times and in all of them, I visited the Prado. It brings tears to my eyes to be in front of those paintings that I saw in books when I was a kid. My grandpa loved to paint and would show me all those images from different artists and styles, and I loved it.

Last time I entered the Prado when it opened, and left because they were closing the museum. We didn´t even notice the time passing! Some paintings that called my attention, but that I didn´t write down the names of the artists:
- Queen Joanna the Mad burning/smoking? the coffin of her husband;
- The vast collection of Habsburg portraits, that shows how inbred and weird they were becoming (the Horse on the Velasquez painting above is much cuter then those people);
- A nativity scene, seen from slightly above. It has a glowing baby Jesus that is very cute, differently from other religious paintings that you don´t now if you are looking at baby Jesus or baby Gollum.

@gmag Not sure if you think any of the above paintings deserves comments, but I'd love if you could keep bringing interesting art along the camino for us to discuss :)
 
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nycwalking

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Even after five various Caminos; four of them flying into Madrid before beginning, I have not spent any time in that city which I hear is wonderful...next time I will plan to spend a few days there before I begin...hopefully in 2021. I will be sure to visit the Prado museum as it has become a more personal destination for me because of your influence.

Madrid is splendid.

The museums, the various plazas, do spend at least two days there.

You won’t regret it.
 
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The painting is painted with very diluted paint, it is almost transparent throughout the painting.
Yes, I just noticed this bit:
Screenshot_20201229-132015_Firefox.jpg
It looks like a mistake, but clearly wasn't.

And thank you, now I see the thing that looks like a bloody cloth is actually the end of a sash, and the guy behind him has a similar one as well.

On the winners side there is a perspective towards the bottom and the center,
Here's where my eye looks in another anti-clockwise — horizontally, as you say, @gmag.
Two horses bodies seem to trace a yin-yang Circle, framing the two opposing protagonists in the center. from above it would look like this, with the Spanish war horse's rear end being on the dark edge, and the Dutch horse's face being on the light edge.
Screenshot_20201229-132641_Google.jpg

Both sides went through something horrible together and are intertwined in that experience. I'm struck by the sympathetic expression on the part of the victor. You would think they were friends after a tennis match rather than combatants after a long siege. But, as the Christmas Truce of WWI illustrated very well, people on opposite sides of a terrible battle share more then meets the eye. Everyone has suffered.
 

gmag

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Yes, I just noticed this bit:
View attachment 90089
It looks like a mistake, but clearly wasn't.

And thank you, now I see the thing that looks like a bloody cloth is actually the end of a sash, and the guy behind him has a similar one as well.


Here's where my eye looks in another anti-clockwise — horizontally, as you say, @gmag.
Two horses bodies seem to trace a yin-yang Circle, framing the two opposing protagonists in the center. from above it would look like this, with the Spanish war horse's rear end being on the dark edge, and the Dutch horse's face being on the light edge.
View attachment 90090

Both sides went through something horrible together and are intertwined in that experience. I'm struck by the sympathetic expression on the part of the victor. You would think they were friends after a tennis match rather than combatants after a long siege. But, as the Christmas Truce of WWI illustrated very well, people on opposite sides of a terrible battle share more then meets the eye. Everyone has suffered.

Very nice and very accurate the comment about the tennis players after the game, I never thought about it and it is the best way to describe it! It could be Federer and Nadal, (but I'm not so sure if it would be the same with Borg and McEnroe ...)

EXCELLENT the observation of that head and that hat. It is an important point of painting for some technical reason. (from my point of view, always debatable) I wanted to talk about it, and I'm very glad you mentioned it before me.
 

gmag

Active Member
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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Answer for VNwalking

In Velazquez there are frequent modifications of this style. He paints with slightly pasty colors, and over time the lower layers go through the last layer of paint, that is, the one we see, and things that were not seen in their time appear. The best known and most visible example is his six-legged horses. Velazquez painted very quickly, very intuitively, he modified small details as he painted, according to his needs.

In this case of the hat, you can clearly see what was underneath. I imagine that he needed, and that he may have realized at some point, three things: to frame and give importance to the heads below, especially Spinola, he also needed to keep our eyes focused as much as possible on Spinola and Nassau, so that draws a invisible line between that hat, shaped like an arrowhead, and the Dutch group, and paints it in a way that we can almost identify with the Dutch horse, and this is a subtle way of linking two images. And not only with the horse, but also the only dark and large shape among the Spanish heads, while the Dutch are almost all.

In short, here Velazquez has solved a problem of balance, rather, several problems. He has also painted that Spanish figure with a horizontal rifle, towards the right, and he has also painted a Dutch figure with a horizontal rifle towards the left. Again the balance. Perhaps even, I think now, he wanted to make them the most subliminally similar by painting them both with dark hats and almost the same shape, in fact, he is the only Dutch with a hat. Nothing is accidental in Velazquez, everything is related in one way or another, and always looking for balance.

Regarding balance, does anyone know why (according to me, nothing more, I can be wrong) the young Spaniard who holds Spinola's horse wears those clothes with those colors?

More about balance: we see that the two central figures wear boots, and that each foot of each of them corresponds to the foot of the other, the same position, almost the same angle ..., balance and stability.

Now I ask again: are there more elements in the painting that Velazquez has painted to balance another close one?
 
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Pelegrin

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Regarding balance, does anyone know why (according to me, nothing more, I can be wrong) the young Spaniard who holds Spinola's horse wears those clothes with those colors?
My opinion: because he is young, lower class or even a servant and probably not Spanish. There were many Germans, Italians and Catholic Flemish soldiers in the Tercios.
 

Bristle Boy

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One thing I did notice was at such an event that warranted recording and memorialising in a painting that at the point of importance (the surrender and the handling over of the key) a large percentage of the combatants were not focussed on the event and seemed distanced. This I noticed on both sides.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
My opinion: because he is young, lower class or even a servant and probably not Spanish. There were many Germans, Italians and Catholic Flemish soldiers in the Tercios.

Hola Pelegrin!! you are from Madrid, me too..., and here, with so many wonderfull people from all around the world at the same time...

The reality is that Velazquez was not there, and as I understand it, when he painted this painting, around 1635, the city of Breda had returned to the hands of the Dutch. And I don't think that when they told him things about the battle, they told him the details of the clothes, nor was Velazquez interested, he was not a photographic painter, on the contrary, he put the elements at the service of the painting.

Velazquez was a good friend of Spinola, who was Italian, from Genoa, which was part of Spain. And it was precisely Spinola who convinced him to go to Italy when he was young, 10 or 15 years before (I write from memory, I can be wrong about something), that trip to Italy had great consequences for Velazquez. And, perhaps or surely, because of that friendship between the two geniuses, that of art and that of war, together with Velazquez's human feelings, he painted this painting focused more on chivalry between enemies than on the ferocity of defeat and victory. He painted his friend in such a way that he has gone down in history as an example of generosity with the loser.

In my humble opinion, the young man has yellow and green clothes, exactly the same colors that dominate the left side ...

Balance even in the small and almost hidden details.

And very good observation, there were Dutch soldiers with the Spanish.
 

Pelegrin

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Yes I agree, many wonderful people here on the forum. They are sensitive and sensible.
You know much more about painting than me, but appart from the color balance I see fine precision details like for example the Dutch have "Dutch faces". On paintings from previous times the people used to have always "local faces" wherever the painting was about, because there weren´t photographs or models available.
And as I said before the Spanish authorities wearing in black.
 
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gmag

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Yes I agree, many wonderful people here on the forum. They are sensitive and sensible.
You know much more about painting than me, but appart from the color balance I see fine precision details like for example the Dutch have "Dutch faces". On paintings from previous times the people used to have always "local faces" wherever the painting was about, because there weren´t photographs or models available.
And as I said before the Spanish authorities wearing in black.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
Yes I agree, many wonderful people here on the forum. They are sensitive and sensible.
You know much more about painting than me, but appart from the color balance I see fine precision details like for example the Dutch have "Dutch faces". On paintings from previous times the people used to have always "local faces" wherever the painting was about, because there weren´t photographs or models available.
And as I said before the Spanish authorities wearing in black.

Very good observation! They are really Dutch faces, not local faces.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
We are going to continue having fun with this curious painting ..., I put this fragment, in it there is something that I have never seen commented anywhere, and that I am really sure that I am right, it fits perfectly in what Velazquez did in his compositions, it is another theory uniquely mine, that I know of.Let's see if you see it, it is something that has to do with lines that cannot be seen, not with colors or shapes ...
more with mass distribution ... (I have said almost everything !!!🤭)

Velázquez_-_de_Breda_o_Las_Lanzas_(Muse (2c).jpg
 
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gmag

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I have seen the nearly invisible lines from the beginning, but chose to say nothing. The most prominent ones are on the gray shirt of the man at the far right, but I have no idea what they represent...or possibly I am totally wrong and it's not what you are looking for.🙄
I also see the faint white lances in the background, but they look more obvious, yet have to do with mass distribution.
No...
 
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gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
It seems that the group of Spaniards is a spontaneous, disorderly group. But if we draw a line across Spinola's shoulder and back, following his inclination, and then draw another one across the horse's neck, it is clear to the naked eye that they are parallel. Next we draw lines parallel to the first two, and more or less at the same distance from each other. Now we can see that all the people in the group are not disordered, but fit perfectly within rectangles that are also parallel to the two lines that frame the group. This is only possible if it is designed.


grupo Velazquez.jpg
 

Camino Chrissy

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It seems that the group of Spaniards is a spontaneous, disorderly group. But if we draw a line across Spinola's shoulder and back, following his inclination, and then draw another one across the horse's neck, it is clear to the naked eye that they are parallel. Next we draw lines parallel to the first two, and more or less at the same distance from each other. Now we can see that all the people in the group are not disordered, but fit perfectly within rectangles that are also parallel to the two lines that frame the group. This is only possible if it is designed.


View attachment 90150
How interesting! I can see that now when I go back to your previous enlarged picture, but never would have discovered it on my own. That method allows us to see each individual face.
 

henrythedog

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It seems that the group of Spaniards is a spontaneous, disorderly group. But if we draw a line across Spinola's shoulder and back, following his inclination, and then draw another one across the horse's neck, it is clear to the naked eye that they are parallel. Next we draw lines parallel to the first two, and more or less at the same distance from each other. Now we can see that all the people in the group are not disordered, but fit perfectly within rectangles that are also parallel to the two lines that frame the group. This is only possible if it is designed.


View attachment 90150
Very good observation. It gives a sense of power, or order, without it being clear why - and so is very powerful.

It can only be intended and not accidental.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
How interesting! I can see that now when I go back to your previous enlarged picture, but never would have discovered it on my own. That method allows us to see each individual face.
Chrissi, don't you think that now, after all we have seen with Vermer and Velazquez, in just a week or something like that, all of you can already see many things in almost any painting, modern or old?

I think yes.

Are these things difficult? NO. They are all just logical. Often you just have to think "what is that doing there?" and follow the lines that that suggests ..., other times it is the angles, the symmetries ...That is coming very soon, in this painting, of course!
 
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Are these things difficult? NO. They are all just logical.
It's all too easy to get caught in the story line of the painting, completely missing the compositional aspects of the painting itself.

Although come to think of it, that's completely the point of all that technique. Drawing the eye here and there, creating emotional resonance, and pulling us into the story the image is telling — all without us consciously knowing that's what's happening.
 

gmag

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frances 1998, 2000, 2013
It's all too easy to get caught in the story line of the painting, completely missing the compositional aspects of the painting itself.

Although come to think of it, that's completely the point of all that technique. Drawing the eye here and there, creating emotional resonance, and pulling us into the story the image is telling — all without us consciously knowing that's what's happening.
VNwalking,

it is impossible to say it better, more clearly and in fewer words.

Congratulations and thank you
 

4 Eyes

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I see the big velvety horse's rump in the foreground as one of three most beautiful objects in the painting. Esthetically, it is appealing to me because it is innocent, a force of nature, and skillfully painted. It is allegorical. Look at the victor with his pink sash wrapping around his torso and draping down his back like a horse's tail. The victor is a horse's arse, but there is also a contrast. The victor is neither beautiful nor strong like a horse. Compared to the horse, he is puny and insignificant, and has to resort to an artifice of a pink sash for a tail.

The second most beautiful object in the painting is the face of the Dutch horse. Look at his eyes. There is such innocence in them. They connect to the third most beautiful object in the painting: the Dutch young man dressed in all green, the color of living nature. He has the same innocent eyes. He, like the horses, are used by slimy people to conduct war. Contrast the innocent eyes with those of the guy in black on the Spanish side also looking at us. Those are the self satisfied eyes of a war monger.

As for other symbols, the lances on the victors side form a wall of prison bars. The winners are captives to the war just as much the losers.

The hypocrisy of the friendly and gracious aristocratic victor accepting the surrender of the aristocratic defeated is easily shown by the contrast with the burning land below, where there is neither friendliness nor graciousness, but abject suffering for the innocent.

I see the discarded sheet of paper at the corner as a symbol of human avarice, like so many discarded and dishonored peace treaties throughout human history, and continuing.

This painting shows the genius of Velazquez.
 
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Lydia Gillen

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I am absolutely intrigued by the discussion here. I have never had the opportunity to study art, but I do do a bit of painting, sometimes of local features, churches or windmills or tall ships, but occasionally I copy part of an Old Master. Once I copied but left out bits of ' The Kitchen Maid at Emmaus' which ca be ]seen in the nationalgallery.ie. This picture has a white cloth about the size of a gentleman's handkerchief just thrown on the table. It is the oldest extant painting by Diego Velázquez. I found it interesting to compare it with the sheet of paper in the right hand corner.
 
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Camino Chrissy

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Hi Lydia,
It's nice to have you taking a look at this thread; yourself being a painter.

I am hoping@gmag will start another thread soon; choosing a new painting for us to scrutinize and add our opinions of what we think we "see"...many of us having different eyes.
 

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