Europe 1300 - 1800
- A Still Life of Global Dimensions: Antonio de Pereda’s Still Life with Ebony Chest
- Juan Sanchez de Cotán, Quince, Melon and Cucumber
- Velázquez, The Waterseller of Seville
- Velázquez, Los Borrachos or the Triumph of Bacchus
- Velázquez, Vulcan's Forge
- Velázquez, The Surrender of Breda
- Velázquez, Las Meninas
- Velázquez, Las Meninas
- Zurbarán, The Martyrdom of Saint Serapion
- Ribera, Martyrdom of Saint Philip
- Jerónimo de Balbás, Altar of the Kings (Altar de los Reyes)
- Making a Spanish polychrome sculpture
- Pedro de Mena, Ecce Homo and Mater Dolorosa
- Juan Martínez Montañés and Francisco Pacheco, Christ of Clemency
- Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables
- Josefa de Óbidos, Christ Child as Salvator Mundi
- The Abduction of Helen Tapestry
- Baroque art in Spain
Velázquez, Los Borrachos or the Triumph of Bacchus
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Los Borrachos (The Drunks) or The Triumph of Bacchus, 1628-1629, 165 x 225 cm (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid). Speakers: Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
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- When and why did Velasquez paint this? I think this painting has a cynical tone; what did Velasquez have in mind, do we know? The way that Bacchus glances away and up (towards Heaven) is captivating and unnerving...(4 votes)
- Good questions. Velazquez was 30 when he painted this, and about 10 years into his career. They why is a much bigger question and I wish the speakers had alluded to it. The subject was unusual, almost unprecedented in Spanish art. The title is "Los Borrachos," "The Drunkards,' a term that would have been extremely derogatory. It was painted for King Philip IV who loved it and hung it in his bedroom in the summer palace.
Some think the painting is a sort of theatrical piece. In the Spanish court it was considered an amusement to bring in ordinary folk and watch their bumbling behaviors. The court also included a number of jesters, buffoons and dwarves, and dwarves were often given the role of jester. One could think of this almost as a "play within a play," Like Shakespeare's "Pyramus and Thisbe" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." This might also speak to the sketchiness of the backdrop that the speakers pointed out. It looks more like a set curtain than a real, atmospheric landscape.
Thinking of it as the depiction of an entertainment may also account for that "unnerving" way that Bacchus looks to the side, as though he were seeking confirmation that what he was doing was okay.(10 votes)
- At2:52, what is the name they mention of the mythological character? I couldn't make it out from the video.(2 votes)
- Thanks for your response, but I meant to refer to the character over Bacchus' left shoulder. I think I heard a name mentioned, but I can't quite make it out.(1 vote)
- Why does he say at0:13"vivid, almost more than photographic"? Sure, it is well rendered, but this seems like an overstatement.(1 vote)
- "Unnervingly vivid, almost more than photographic": I agree, that's a strange description. This reproduction is perfectly awful and give little sense of the richness of color and the tension between the painterly and the illusionistic. I dislike hyperbole generally and I particularly dislike it when there is not real effort to support and elucidate the opinion.(6 votes)
- Who is being crowned? Is this just a party crown and part of the fun or is something more important being depicted?(1 vote)
- The fellow being crowned with a wreath of grape leaves is one of the common mortals. He appears to be joining the group of followers or "bacchantes." If the work is placed into the context of the Catholic Counter Reformation and Renaissance humanism, then this could also be a Christian allegory with the wine alluding to the Last Supper and the ritual of the Eucharist. I think there was too much oohing and aahing over technique and insufficient discussion of what was really going on.(6 votes)
- what isVelázquez message in the painting los Borrachos?(2 votes)
- To me it represents all are equally welcome at this table of this God 0f wine. H e is the one crowning the man after all. With witnesses who defintly all in favor of the crowning. Maybe they have already received their crown. Welcome aboard maybe? All for one, and one for all.(2 votes)
- He mentions a hater over Bacchus' shoulder. What does hater mean in this context ?(1 vote)
- In Greek mythology, Satyrs were half-human, half-goat followers of Dionysus (Dionysus was the Greek version of Bacchus, the Romans changed his name when they adopted the Greek gods into their own religion).
For more on Satyrs: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyr(1 vote)
- Ok, this is the third painting I've seen of Velazquez that seems more than just "inspired" by Caravaggio, but almost copied from. This painting of Bacchus is so very close to Caravaggio's "Bacchus" (not the self-portrait one, but the Uffizi, painted in 1597). Velazquez' Bacchus is looking in the same direction, wearing his robe in the precise same manner, his skin tone is the precisely same pastey-white (although true, Caravaggio's is much more muscular), even his crown of grape leaves sits on his head in the same angle.
So, how did Velasquez get so very familiar with Caravaggio's work? Since Caravaggio never brought his work to Spain, (or indeed, may never have even visited there, although I could be wrong), did Velasquez travel to Italy after Caravaggio's death to study his work?(1 vote)
- If you happen to live in London, go see Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/beyond-caravaggio If you live elsewhere and you don't mind dense academic writing, you might want to read Michael Fried's new book, After Caravaggio: http://yalebooks.com/book/9780300218640/after-caravaggio(1 vote)
- Is this a special visit from this God, to these men who appear to appreciate good wine,but not always able to aquire some?At7:16The man looking at us is a very happy participant.(1 vote)
- was the man with the crown a follower who was being shown special treatment?(1 vote)
- I still think more like a joining of this particular group of men . A welcoming, shared with gods and man.(1 vote)
- There is discussion of Bacchus and the man with the hat looking out at us as being the focus of the painting, but doesn't anyone quickly notice the smiling man just to the right of the guy in the hat? I can just imagine him about to say, "You think that story was good? Lemme tell you what happened to me..." with a drunken slur. Surely we've all seen someone like this at a party or bar who has had far too much to drink. Doesn't he stand out as one of the main drunkards?(1 vote)
(jazzy music) Male: We're in the Prado in Madrid and we're looking at a great early Velazquez, The Triumph of Bacchus. The painting is unnervingly vivid, almost more than photographic. Female: Bacchus, the god of wine, looks beautiful and he's sort of bathed in light. Male: That young central figure. Female: He's sitting on a jug of wine. Male: (chuckles) Yes, appropriately. Female: He's the god of wine. Male: He's got grape leaves in his hair. Female: He's come down to earth to bring men wine, which relieves life's sufferings. And relieving it, it is! Everyone's having a really good time. There's a figure kneeling down, one of Bacchus' followers. He's having a crown placed on his head. There's a feeling of revelry and partying and fun. Bacchus looks away, but that other figure just to the right Male: With the hat. Female: He feels like someone we've all seen in a bar somewhere. Male: Exactly right. He's got this bowl of wine that he's about to bring to his lips, which, I dont' know about for you, but to me, I feel as if I can just feel the coolness of that liquid. It is so transparent, I can feel it sort of waft Female: The glistening surface. Male: The glistening surface, I can feel it sort of edge side to side. I can see his anticipation, but he's looked up at us. So it's not just the vividness of the contrast of light and shadow across his face, but it's the way in which he smiles directly at us so that we are there. We are right there ready to partake. Female: Yeah, I think that's what sort of uncomfortable about it. He's a kind of seedy character. Male: Yes, he is. Female: I mean, he looks sort of like he's lived a hard life, and the figures around him, too; a kind of leathery skin and clothing that looks very poor. Male: Especially in contrast to the god. Female: When he looks out at us, it sort of implies that we're like him. I've sort of become a rowdy reveler in a half-drunken state, sort of partying it up and not feeling life's pain anymore. Male: There is a kind of guilt by association. I think that that's exactly right. We are drawn in. It's interesting that we're drawn in not only because of the scale of the figures and the sense of proximity, but we're drawn in by a kind of almost moral equivalency. Female: There is kind of lovely frieze of the figures. They're all very much close to the foreground in a kind of very Baroque way, and occupy all kind of the same plane across that foreground, taking up much of the space of the painting. There's a real directness about the figures. They're very much in our space. Male: There's also a really interesting set of contrasts. You have the, as you described, the very beautiful body, and young and sort of perfect body, of Bacchus. You've then got this hater just over his shoulder. Those two mythological figures, and perhaps the third crouching down in the foreground in the shadow, are so contrasted against the figures of our reality who are on the right. One of the things that I think makes this painting feel so vivid and so engaging is the variation in sort of degrees of focus that Velasquez brings to the canvas. In other words, look at the background. It couldn't be sort of more unfinished. The figure in the foreground in the lower left that we mentioned in shadow feels almost incomplete. So that really draws our eye right to those center figures. There is something very interesting about the contrast, again. You mentioned it before, between the directness of the man with a hat and the way in which Bacchus himself looks off to the side, so that our eye has to go to the man that we don't want to go to, in a sense. Female: There's a kind of realism that Velasquez is bringing to a mythological subject and intentionally not representing it in a kind of Classical manner. Male: He gives us a few handles, actually quite literally. If you look at the jugs down at the bottom, in the center, there is a kind of vividness there. We feel as if we can literally reach in and grab one of those an it will be poured full of wine for us. There are these sort of points of entrance and these points of physical reality that give us access to the mythological in a way that I don't think we're used to. Female: It's very much like the way that Caravaggio would paint religious subjects in Italy, with that kind of immediacy and realism and physicality and the down-to-earthness of the figures and the way that everything is happening very close to us. I think what we're seeing is a kind of Caravaggio-inspired approach applied to a mythological subject. (jazzy music)