Featuring the work of five prominent scholars, this collection analyzes the paintings of Diego Velázquez within the cultural, intellectual, and political frameworks of seventeenth-century Spain. Each essay offers novel insight into the greatest artist of the Spanish Golden Age by bringing a remarkable range of material to bear upon the interpretation of his works. Laura Bass considers painting, poetics, and the Spanish canon of arts and letters in an examination of Velázquez’s trenchant portrayal of the writer Luis de Góngora. Turning to the nexus between theory and practice, Giles Knox explores how Velázquez engaged with sculpture both as a young man mastering his craft and as a painter to King Philip IV. Fernando Marías uses sixteenth- and seventeenth-century artistic theory to shed light on the complex narrative structure of a work painted by Velázquez in Italy: Joseph’s Bloodied Coat, in which the artist placed himself in competition with the celebrated history painters of Rome. Through an investigation of classical philosophy as understood by Velázquez’s contemporaries, Aneta Georgievska-Shine locates his enigmatic Aesop and Menippus within discourse on wisdom, paradox, and humor. Javier Portús places paintings and theatrical productions within the social and political matrix of the Spanish court, offering a powerful new reading of the space for which Velázquez created the Surrender of Breda.
Introduction — Giles Knox and Tanya J. Tiffany
The Poet in Painting: Góngora’s Portraits and the Politics of the Paragone — Laura R. Bass
Eggs, Water, Metal: Velázquez, the Paragone, and the Products of Pratica — Giles Knox
Joseph’s Bloodied Coat Presented to Jacob. From Portrait to History: History at the Margins of the Human — Fernando Marías
Velázquez and the Philosophers in the Torre de la Parada — Aneta Georgievska-Shine
Heresy, Judaism, and Paganism in the Hall of Realms — Javier Portús