“Rights”, Diego Velazquez – overview of the painting

“Rights”, Diego Velazquez – overview of the painting
"Rights", Diego Velazquez - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Diego Velazquez
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1657

Overview of the painting :

Spicy – Diego Velazquez. 1657. Oil on canvas. 167 x 252 cm

   The painting was written in the last years of the artist’s life and fully reflects his mature skill and ability to work with various techniques, to reproduce the complex texture of materials. This is a multi-figure composition with two plans, which is very common on the artist’s canvases. The canvas is complex, multi-colored, saturated with many diverse objects and contains Velazquez’s favorite technique – “picture in the picture.”.

   In this case, an additional storyline is the large tapestry depicted in the background on historical subjects. It was the presence of this tapestry that gave rise to the initial false interpretation of the story depicted in the picture.

   For a long time it was believed that the theme of the canvas is devoted to the image of a tapestry workshop at the royal monastery in Madrid. Only in the middle of the 20th century was it revealed that in fact the image is more correctly interpreted as an illustration of the myth of the competition between Athens and Arachna, borrowed from Metamorphosis by the famous Roman poet Ovidia.

   The main character is depicted in the foreground – Athena in a white headscarf and Arachna, who turned her back on the audience. The essence of the competition was who would strain yarn more. Arachna won and was immediately punished for this – vengeful Athena did not survive the insults and turned the strand into a spider.

   In addition to the main actors, three women are in the foreground of the picture, and two more in the back, in more magnificent silk dresses of women from the upper class. They carefully consider the tapestry located in front of them.

   All the canvas is designed in the stylist of a characteristic baroque – a complex multi-figure composition, rich, but noble muffled, non-screaming colors, carefully crafted details of the image, drowning architecture in darkness. The picture seems to be genre, but its mythological plot adds depth to it and gives some intrigue to the image of a peaceful, at first glance, process of creating yarn.

   Attention is attracted by numerous, carefully prescribed draperies. The folds of the large golden-alnah curtain, which the maid pushes in the yellow skirt impress with the play of color and light. Another young girl in the center of the composition crouched, collecting scattered lumps of wool, and her saffron skirt shines with a sunflower spot, balancing the brightness of a large curtain. The maid behind Arachna, dressed in brown-wandered cloak, and a piece of reddish-pinking fabric lying on the bench, completes the harmony of the distribution of warm flowers.

   Arachna and Athena are dressed in dark things with white accents – on Athens a dark brown dress without finishing and a thin white scarf on his head, Arachna is sitting in a dark blue lush skirt and a white free blouse with highly rolled sleeves so as not to interfere with work. Such a technique allows you to unobtrusively select the central characters, make them the main ones in the picture. He completes this peaceful, at first glance, scene image of a cat who calmly dorms on the floor among the wool.

   And today, this canvas attracts the attention of museum visitors with the skill of the image and its plot.