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Velazquez - Don Sebastian de Morra

Post #959 • February 22, 2007, 5:03 PM • 21 Comments

Like I said, mind-blowing. It's not hard to see why Manet sought him out and the great wealth he took away from doing so. So few human creations want for nothing. This is one of them.

Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), Don Sebastián de Morra, ca. 1643–44, oil on canvas, 106 x 81 cm, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid Photo © 2006 Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid











February 22, 2007, 5:25 PM

I totally agree!!!



February 22, 2007, 6:04 PM

picasso also thought velasquez was the best.

velasquez looked to titian.

after spending a lot of time in 2 visits to the prado over thangsgiving i'd give the nod to titian.

although i have not been to every museum, who has, but most of the majors, and the prado, painting for painting seems to be the strongest of all for it's substantive size. painting for painting, like pound for pound in boxing. the prado is not the biggest or most exhaustive, but on average, per painting, mind boggling.



February 22, 2007, 6:13 PM

Clearly a 3rd rate hack.



February 22, 2007, 6:43 PM

LOL.................yeah he suck too...



February 22, 2007, 6:56 PM

Amazing painter!! Titian is right up there too. Dali fans, take a look the the paint handling and suface quality of these.



February 22, 2007, 7:17 PM

Are you kidding me, paint handling and about what you will about dali's subject matter, you're gonna tell me his paint handling and quality is'nt up there with anyone you'd like to compare....i get what people say about the fantasy quality of his work, but don't try and say the man could'nt paint.



February 22, 2007, 7:18 PM

And yes, Vlasquez was a bad ass.....for lack of a more articulate adulation.



February 22, 2007, 7:27 PM

Bethea's right. I've even troubled myself to go to the Dali Museum in St. Petersberg. I had previously thought of him as a painter whose subject didn't interest me, but a technical master. I was surprised how leaden he looks. I hesitate to call it paint-by-numbers, but he had a similarly mechanical hand, laying down paint like asphalt on a road. That dead quality hightens the surrealist effect to some extent, which is why you see it in Magritte, Delvaux, and others, but as a paint surface it's chilling and ghoulish. In comparison to Velazquez above, it's like the difference between handwriting and a word processor.

I might take Velazquez over Titian. It wouldn't be by much though.


Marc Country

February 22, 2007, 7:29 PM

Can we please stop talking about Dali, already? I'm developing a mustache ache...



February 22, 2007, 7:31 PM

It is a wonder of a painting in that he was able to capture likeness and economy with such virtuosity and juicyness.



February 22, 2007, 8:03 PM

This is one of a famous series of portraits of dwarfs and/or fools who were kept at the Spanish court for the amusement of the royals and nobles, pretty much like human pets. Velazquez evidently found them particularly interesting as subjects, and painted them without any hint of caricature or condescension, but rather great sympathy and respect. He conveys both their pathos and dignity, as seen here.

As for the actual painting as such, his work, especially the late work, is characterized by great vividness or immediacy, but if looked at too closely, the forms tend to dissolve into what's been called " a fricassee of beautiful brushstrokes." Someone else said that " one cannot understand it if standing too close, but from a distance it is a miracle."



February 22, 2007, 8:07 PM

Someone accused Rembrandt of the same thing. Apparently he retorted that oil fumes were poisonous and one ought not stick one's nose so close to the surface. Max Doerner tells it.



February 22, 2007, 8:33 PM

Clem's term for Dali's painting (and others) was "cack-handed". (Sorry, Marc)



February 22, 2007, 8:45 PM

It's worth noting that dwarfs and "fools" were kept at other courts as well, not just in Spain, but no other painter did much with them except occasionally using one as a mere accessory in the protrait of a royal personage. Velazquez apparently saw them as only too human, and compellingly so. There's nothing else like their portraits in Western painting.

It's also worth noting that Velazquez was little known outside Spain before the 19th century, which may partly explain why so much of his work is still in Spain, as opposed to all over the place.



February 22, 2007, 9:06 PM

One more thing. The degree of psychological penetration evident in this portrait, which is typical of Velazquez, brings to mind his extremely famous portrait of Pope Innocent X (for which he prepared or warmed up by doing the portrait of Juan de Pareja, now at the Met in NY). After seeing it, the pope himself said it was troppo vero: too truthful.



February 22, 2007, 9:08 PM

Camera obscura ?



February 22, 2007, 9:53 PM

Camera obscura?

Naah. Doesn't have that look to it.



February 22, 2007, 11:14 PM

Velazquez predates Dali in his handling of Sebastian's moustache.



February 22, 2007, 11:22 PM

"So few human creations want for nothing." This is an awe-some picture. I can't add to the other commentors' reasons why, but note the staring contest you find yourself to have been engaged in for uncounted minutes.

There is one part of the image that confuses me. Are Don Sebastion's fists resting on a hidden TV tray? Or are those pantaloons pressurized?



February 22, 2007, 11:37 PM

The hands, especially his right, may have been deformed somehow, Ahab. He may have been trying to hide that.



February 23, 2007, 2:16 AM

No hay tribunal español. Esta pintura está sobre.



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