Author(s): Norbert Wolf
The face of Spain: The undeniable pinnacle of the golden age of Spanish paintingAcclaimed for its blending of realism with atmosphere, and for its deeply sensitive appreciation of character, the work of Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez (1599 1660) represents the undeniable pinnacle of the golden age of Spanish painting.Born in Seville but of Portuguese origin, Velazquez became Court Painter to Philip IV in 1623. A steady worker, using primarily sombre low-toned coloring, he met Rubens in 1628, and soon after made a first trip to Italy. The pictures painted there reveal a growing interest in both color range and in the male nude.Velazquez only returned to Italy once again in the late 1640s, where he painted his famous portrait of Pope Innocent X and his only female nude, the Rokeby Venus . But his greatness lies perhaps in his empathetic studies of such characters as the dwarf playmates of the royal children. The weathering of the skin, rags and mortality, as well as the ageing face of the despondent monarch increasingly preoccupied him in later years. The power, insight and brilliant technique of these paintings were to prove profoundly influential on such later artists as Manet, Delacroix, Picasso and Bacon.About the series: Each book in TASCHEN s Basic Art series features: a detailed chronological summary of the life and oeuvre of the artist, covering his or her cultural and historical importance a concise biography approximately 100 illustrations with explanatory captions"