Cover image for Velázquez : the technique of genius
Velázquez : the technique of genius
Brown, Jonathan, 1939-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
215 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm
"Great painters are invariably great technicians. In creating the techniques he needed to express his ideas, Velazquez became one of the most original practitioners of the art of painting ever known. In this richly illustrated book, two widely recognised specialists on Velazquez - one an art historian, the other a conservation scientist - combine their expertise to show exactly how Spain's most famous painter realised his artistic vision." "More than two hundred photographs of details of Velazquez's paintings vividly demonstrate how the artist realised his vision of man and nature through a highly allusive, economical manner of painting."--BOOK JACKET.
Velázquez: an introduction to his life and career / Jonathan Brown -- Genius at work: Velázquez's materials and technique / Carmen Garrido -- Adoration of the Magi -- Philip IV -- The feast of Bacchus -- Joseph's coat brought to Jacob -- The forge of Vulcan -- The Villa Medici Grotto-Loggia facade -- Pavilion of Cleopatra-Ariadne -- The temptation of St Thomas Aquinas -- Christ on the cross -- Equestrian portrait of Philip IV -- Baltasar Carlos on horseback -- The surrender of Breda -- Pablo de Valladolid -- "Don Juan de Austria" -- St Anthony Abbot visits St Paul the Hermit -- Equestrian portrait of Count-Duke Olivares -- Coronation of the Virgin -- Philip IV as hunter -- Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand as hunter -- Baltasar Carlos as hunter -- "Francisco Lezcano" -- Diego de Acedo, El Primo -- Juan Calabazas -- Menippus -- Aesop -- Mars -- Mariana of Austria -- Las Meninas -- Fable of Arachne -- Mercury and Argus.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND813.V4 B893 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This study begins with an introduction to Velazquez's life. The authors then examine how the artist devised his techniques and how they changed over time. The photographs aim to demonstrate how Velazquez realised his vision of man and nature through a highly allusive, economical manner of painting.

Author Notes

Velazquez was the greatest painter of the Spanish Renaissance. Born in Seville, where he also worked in his early years, he became the court painter in Madrid in 1623. He remained in the service of Philip IV for the rest of his life, portraying his king in many psychologically searching and moving portraits. He visited Italy in 1629--31, but the roots of his art were firmly Spanish. Court life was not Velazquez's only concern. Deeply human pictures of the humble and of street life are among his greatest; for example, The Water Carrier of Seville and The Old Woman Cooking Eggs. One of the outstanding historical paintings of all time is his Surrender of Breda. Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor), a court painting full of subtle allusions, is probably his best-known work. ( Picasso later painted 44 variations on its theme.) Although his work was neglected in the eighteenth century, Velazquez exerted a strong influence on later nineteenth-century painting. (Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is the book for all students of Velazquez who want to know more about his materials and how he used them. Some 30 works, all but two in the Prado Museum, are portrayed from photographs made in the museum laboratory where the paintings have undergone cleaning and restoration over the past two decades. In chronological sequence, each painting is shown with nearly a dozen or more close-up, color details (only an occasional blurry one disappoints), together with radiographs, infrared reflectograms, and enlarged sections of the grounds and pigments. Following a brief introductory essay by each author, there are commentaries, picture by picture. They begin with a fine, brief consideration of what the artist has achieved and under what circumstances, then analyze the technical evidence pertaining to the execution and condition of the works. Brown and Garrido have previously published their own monographs on this artist: Velazquez, Painter and Courtier (CH, Oct'86), by Jonathan Brown (Institute of Fine Arts, New York Univ.); and Velazquez, Tecnica y Evolucion (Madrid, 1992), by Carmen Garrido Perez (head, technical services, Prado). The accompanying bibliography supplements those of the earlier monographs. All levels. C. W. Talbot; Trinity University

Table of Contents

Velazquez: An Introduction to his Life and CareerJonathan Brown
Genius at Work: Velazquez's Materials and TechniqueCarmen Garrido
1. Adoration of the Magi
2. Philip IV
3. The Feast of Bacchus
4. Joseph's Coat Brought to Jacob
5. The Forge of Vulcan
6. The Villa Medici Grotto-Loggia Facade
7. Pavilion of Cleopatra-Ariadne
8. The Temptation of St Thomas Aquinas
9. Christ on the Cross
10. Equestrian Portrait of Philip IV
11. Baltasar Carlos on Horseback
12. The Surrender of Breda
13. Pablo de Valladolid
14. "Don Juan de Austria"
15. St Anthony Abbot Visits St Paul the Hermit
16. Equestrian Portrait of Count-Duke Olivares
17. Coronation of the Virgin
18. Philip IV as Hunter
19. Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand as Hunter
20. Baltasar Carlos as Hunter
21. "Francisco Lezcano"
22. Diego de Acedo, El Primo
23. Juan Calabazas
24. Menippus
25. Aesop
26. Mars
27. Mariana of Austria
28. Las Meninas
29. Fable of Arachne
30. Mercury and Argus