Wednesday, June 06, 2007

EDW: Diego Velázquez

Today marks the birthday of one of the finest of all painters: Diego Velázquez. Tempting as it would be to simply link you to his best known work Las Meninas (a particular favourite of mine) I thought instead to share this self portrait with you.

You will note, with approval I am sure, the way he combines simplicity with grandeur. But there is something else there too; an underlying melancholy, redolent of the empty grandeur and ebbing power of a failing empire. (And just to be really heavy-handed with you, Velázquez was the court painter to Philip IV, under whom Spain's long decline from world power to place where people go to on holiday really set in. This despite the fact he was a cultivated and intelligent individual. Life's like that.)

Yet Velázquez manages to convey all this - and the sense that all his supreme talents are powerless against this decay - in the way he carries off his formal attire. This, I scarcely need add, is a supreme exposition of the art of the dandy. Would that Martin Amis looked so well in evening wear.



Blogger Quink said...

Yeah, but the moustache has a lot to do with it too. And what a fine one it is.

2:38 pm  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Martin Amis is a cock.

And being a world power is overrated. I tried it once - so much paperwork. Sigh.


3:26 pm  

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