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The Surrender Of Breda


Diego Velasquez

The Surrender of Breda

How do we define art? Any brief definition of art would oversimplify the matter and any detailed description may extend or limit the restraints of this term. Art and masterpieces have been defined in many forms throughout the centuries. Many critics and experts tried to ‘seize’ the form and look into the creative work of world-famous artists to such an extent that every single detail and shape would become explicable for us, the wide audience. What we can say is that all the definitions offered over the centuries show that art is something more than beautiful that somehow mysterious, so everyone should define it for himself.

Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velasquez was born in Seville, Spain in 1599. He is regarded as the greatest Spanish painter, one of the most talented artists of all time.  His father was of a noble Portuguese. Velasquez’ education and erudite have influenced his individual artistic style. He learned much from examining the surrounding nature. After the painter got married at the age of 19, he went to Madrid. When he was 24 he painted a portrait of Philip IV, who became his patron.  Velasquez lived in Madrid and worked as a court painter. His artworks include landscapes, mythological and religious subjects, and scenes from common life. Velasquez created portraits of court notables that his mastering of technique rank him with the portraits painted by Anthony Van Dyck. One can be easily engulfed with Velasquez’s masterpieces that are highly individual in style and truly real. All portraits depicted people who seem to breathe and move, and all landscapes, painted by Velasquez, take our breath away due to the unique blend of colours. Velasquez was second to none in his ability to seize essential features and fix them easily in a remarkable manner.

 Caravaggio influenced some of Velasquez’ artworks and he shaped Spanish artist’s ability to outline the most essential features of one’s individuality. Velasquez has learnt how to create an impressive portrait with a limited palette of black and neutral colors. Grays and blacks are mainly used in a subtle harmony and thus the expression of the model is depicted in such a way that the spectator may think that they are able to communicate with the model.

 Velazquez’ ability to merge the color, light, space, lines in an extraordinary manner has led to artist’s popularity as the forerunner of the modern practice or direct painting.

Some of the most famous paintings are ‘’The Surrender of Breda’’, an equestrian portrait of Philip IV, The Spinners, The Maids of Honor, Pope Innocent X, Christ at Emmaus, and a portrait of the Infanta Maria Theresa.

The Surrender of Breda is a spectacular painting, inspired by artist’s first visit to Italy. He accompanied Ambrogio Spinola, the one who conquered the Dutch city of Breda. The Surrender of Breda is one of the paintings of war scenes that was on display in the so- called Kingdoms Hall at Madrid's Buen Retiro Palace. The latter was built for Philip IV and therefore Velasquez, who was the court painter, was assigned for the decoration of the painter. The

talented Velasquez represented the victory of Spanish armies.  This masterwork depicts a transfer of the key to the city from the Dutch to the Spanish army during the Siege of Breda.

 Velazquez reserved the celebration of the surrender of the Dutch city of Breda on 5 June 1625 for himself. The painting is a marvel in an important composition, organized into two groups — that of the conquerors and that of the defeated. They both form a kind of a fine line which frames the scene, which is centred on the embrace between the Spaniard, Ambrosio de Spinola and Justine of Nassau for the Dutch.

The Surrender of Breda is considered one of the most striking Velázquez’s paintings.

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