The Spanish School 3

We shall find, on looking closely at it, that the Venus, like the Admiral, is, on a toned canvas. The figure is first prepared in white, and probably Indian red and black. In few places is the canvas really lost under the whites. In one place—behind the knees—it is, however, filled—a very wonderful and supple rendering of flesh, completed in the thin glazes and semi-opaque manner of Rubens. This is clearly shown by the subsequent widening of the shoulder through which the background asserts itself. The colour and the glazes on the Cupid are somewhat red, for such a red curtain as his setting usually influences the greys of the flesh towards its complement green. The small " Philip IV." is one of our treasures, and should be copied. It is also painted over a preparation that appears to have been made in white and Indian red, and finished in the Rubens manner. The eyelids, which Velazquez did not at this stage outline as with Van Dyck, show a thin painting over the dark of the pupils, and the pink greys of the flesh point to a use of Indian red both in the ground and the last painting.
VELAZQUEZ, THE SCULPTOR. Gall. del Prado, Madrid. Extreme breadth and subtle modelling combined.
Gall. del Prado, Madrid
Extreme breadth and subtle modelling combined.

The " Betrothal " is, of course, a direct colour sketch over a dark canvas, and although very spirited, has none of the brilliancy of the Philip or the Venus, which are better calculated, because of their pure white preparations, to resist the darkening action of Time.
In "The Boar Hunt," the landscape seems to have been laid in in brown over a warm ground, which, by the way, shows through the half-tones of the horses. The more solid lights have resisted its influence. The most interesting portions of this fine picture are the foreground groups of men and hounds, where the beauty of impasto is brought home to us as in few other works.
To be thorougly understood and appreciated, Velazquez must be seen in Madrid at the Prado Gallery, in which magnificent collection are the two portraits accompanying these notes." The Sculptor " is in a similar light to the Admiral, and has much in common with it, but the colour is fairer. The oneness of the head, the perfect construction of the forehead and the planes of the temple, the eye so absolutely in its setting, the complete finish of the ear, and the freely touched beard, are among a few of its excellences.
The "Dwarf "in the original is highlyand smoothly finished, not detail finish, but of a homogeneous surface, which is the higher order of completeness. It is soft and pulpy. Note the part played in the roundness of its modelling by the delicate tone running down by the nose, on the shadow side, the local colour of the tip of the nose, and the solidity and learned drawing of the lighted eyelid. Nothing could well be finer than the rotundity of this head or its fleshiness, to which the melting edges of the shadows into the lights contribute so much.
<< Previous page -- Next page >>