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Friday 24 November 2023 – Velazquez and Goya: Traditionalists or Modern Masters?

Lecturer: Alice Foster

The reputation of Velásquez has long eclipsed the others who painted for the Hapsburg Court. Velásquez joined the court of Philip IV, who on the one hand had inherited a collection of immense value, and on the other, had enthusiastic artistic interests himself. Velásquez had the benefit of Rubens, Titian, Poussin to study in the royal collection and he was also allowed artistic freedom in his own compositions to find a modern idiom in his work.
Goya had similar experiences in the Bourbon Court; both men accepted the traditions of the courts but also explored the ‘everyday’ and allowed ordinary experiences to filter into their subject choice. Both painters had a tremendous effect on the modern painters that followed, especially Edouard Manet in nineteenth century Paris. Manet spotted in the work of the Spanish Masters something that the critics misunderstood in his – broad handling of paint, and the celebration of ordinary people.