“The Wolves Worship,” Diego Velazquez – overview of the painting

“The Wolves Worship,” Diego Velazquez – overview of the painting
“The Wolves Worship,” Diego Velazquez - overview of the painting - 1

  • Posted by Diego Velazquez
  • Museum: Prado Museum
  • Year: 1619

Overview of the painting :

Wolves worship – Diego Velazquez. 1619. Oil on canvas. 204 x 126.5 cm

   The plot of this picture has been used repeatedly in painting, probably, there is not a single artist of the time who would not use the motives from the Bible in his work. “The worship of the Magi” is one of the most popular biblical stories, which has been interpreted in many different ways. Velazquez is no exception. His picture is an author’s vision of the religious motive of worship suffered by the artist in the reality of Spain of the 17th century.

   As for the plot, everything is exactly like in the Bible: baby Christ, Virgin Mary, Joseph and the three Magi who came to bow to the future Savior. But the image is very different from the canonical image: all the characters are not dressed in the style of the 1st century AD, characteristic of Judea of that time, but in the characteristic Spain century XVII .

   This picture refers to the early period of the artist’s work. It still has very deep dark shadows, many figures literally drown in the dark, but the more brightly they shine perfectly selected harmonious colors. Even in the work of a young artist of the Seville period, skill is already felt. It was especially pronounced in the image of draperies and folds on the fabric. Literally, you can feel the smoothness and silkyness of the atlas, the density of woolen fabric on the clothes of St. Joseph, and the severity of the draperies thrown on the knee-deep wolf.

   The clothes of the characters and their location set a certain rhythm of the composition of the picture. The diagonal arrangement of the three main figures – the wolf on the lap and the sitting Virgin Mary with baby Christ on his lap – visually expands the space limited by dense darkness in the background. Only the landscape in the distance in gloomy tones with low thunderclouds, most likely depicting Golgofu Hill, adds a little airiness to this intensely filled and saturated composition.

   It is also interesting here is the image of the baby Christ. Most artists performed work in the classical style, leaving the child a newborn. Old masters often portrayed the Savior as a miniature copy of an adult, but Velazquez went the other way. In his interpretation, Christ is a real little child, tightly swaddled according to the habits of that time. But the expression of his baby face is very serious, without a hint of infant fun or distraction – this child is not from this world.

   The painting has a rich and rich color, excellent image quality and is the true pride of the Prado Museum, which stores most of the paintings of the great artist.