Velazquez, a 17th century painter, is considered to be one of the world’s greatest artists. Velazquez was known for his portraits of the Spanish royalty and for showing people and scenes as they really were.
Juan de Pareja by Velazquez
Pope Innocent X portrait by Velazquez
His painting of his servant, Juan de Pareja, is admired for its realism. His portrait of Pope Innocent X is considered a masterpiece of portraiture.
Fable of Arachne by Velazquez
Velazquez's The Spinners which is also known as the Fable of Arachne, depicts the story of the mortal Arachne who dared to challenge the goddess Athena to a weaving competition. Arachne is in the white blouse, and the goddess is in the disguise of the old woman on the left.
TUESDAY - Velazquez's Las Meninas
King Philip of Spain loved Velazquez’s work and made him his court painter. Velazquez painted many portraits of the royal family, including a series of them on horseback.
Allegorical Portrait of Philip IV by Velazquez
Las Meninas by Velazquez
Our painting of the week is Las Meninas by Velazquez.
Las Meninas is Velazquez’s masterpiece. It captures a moment in time when Velazquez himself is working on a painting of the King and Queen of Spain. The painting is so large that some of the figures are life-sized.
The little princess is surrounded by maids.
In the middle ground, two handmaidens give their attention to the young princess, the daughter of the King and Queen.
Velazquez has painted himself into the scene as the artist painting the king and queen.
The mirror reflects the King and Queen.
Velazquez looks out from behind the back of a large easel to study the king and queen, whom we can only see in the mirror on the far wall.
A dog rests in the foreground.
Other servants and a dog are in the foreground and an unidentified man stands in the open door in the background. It is amazing that Velazquez was able to capture the moment and freeze the action without the benefit of a camera, which had not yet been invented. Most of the nine figures are focusing on the viewer who is in the position of the unseen king and queen. The king and queen are the subjects the artist in the painting.
YouTube video - Las Meninas [upper grades - an analysis of the painting] (5:59 min.)
WEDNESDAY - Space: an element of art
Space is one of the elements of art. Space refers to the area around, between, above, below, and within an object. It is the area in which art is organized. Space can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional. In two-dimensional art such as paintings and drawings, an illusion of space is created by showing depth or perspective.
Bierstadt's The Sierras near Lake Tahoe
The foreground of a drawing or painting is usually at the bottom and it is the area closest to the viewer. The middle ground is the mid-range. The background is the objects or space in the farthest distance.
Detail- objects with clear, sharp edges and visible details seem to be close to the viewer. Objects that are less detailed seem further away.
Rembrandt's The Prodigal Son
Color- Brightly colored objects seem closer to you, and objects with dull, light colors seem to be further away.
Burgess Finding a Ford by Remington
Overlapping- when one object covers part of a second object, the first seems to be closer to the viewer.
Placement- Objects placed low on the picture plane seem to be closer to the viewer than objects placed near eye level.
Elements of Art: Space [explains Space] (2:01 min.)
YouTube video - Elements of Art: Space KGED Arts [for upper grades] (4:53 min.)
To show space in a two-dimensional artwork, the artist often uses perspective. Perspective is a system that creates an illusion of depth and volume. It helps make a two-dimensional scene appear three-dimensional. With perspective, objects appear smaller that are farther away.
With one-point perspective, imaginary lines leading from the corners of objects merge and disappear at a vanishing point on the picture's horizon. One-point perspective is used when you are facing an object straight-on so that you see one complete side.
Two-point perspective has two vanishing points on the horizon. Two-point perspective is used when viewing the corner of an object.
Velazquez makes use of perspective in his painting Las Meninas. The interior of the large artist's studio looks real and has depth. The paintings on the wall have imaginary lines that would lead to a vanishing point.
YouTube video - One-point Perspective Landscape (8:49 min.)