Symposium for 'Diego Velázquez, The Early Court Portraits'

Symposium for 'Diego Velázquez, The Early Court Portraits'

Academic symposiums featuring Velázquez scholars Tanya Tiffany, Javier Portús and Layra R. Bass.

Held in conjunction with the exhibition Diego Velázquez: The Early Court Portraits, this symposium will feature presentations from three guest speakers:

Before Velázquez Came to Court: The Waterseller of Seville and the Artist’s Early Career
Tanya Tiffany, Associate Professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Before Velázquez became Philip IV’s court painter, he achieved renown in his native Seville for representing lowly subjects with powerful realism. This talk focuses on one such early masterpiece, the Waterseller of Seville (c. 1622-23). The painting is particularly significant because its deceptively simple imagery and strikingly novel style were tailor made for its first owner: a Sevillian aristocrat who helped the young painter to establish his career in Madrid.
Madrid, 1623: Velázquez’s Arrival at Court
Javier Portús, Head of the Department of Spanish Painting (up to 1700), Museo Nacional del Prado
Velázquez’s arrival in Madrid in 1623 forever changed both his personal and artistic trajectory. His employment at the service of Philip IV resulted in his dedication to the genre of portraiture, as well as important explorations in the field of mythological painting. In addition, first-hand knowledge of the Royal Collections influenced the development of his style through contact and dialogue with great international painting. This presentation will explore the artistic scene encountered by the painter upon his arrival in the city; the changes in court politics and culture prompted by Philip IV’s ascent to the throne in 1621; and the manner in which Velázquez’s new artistic production reflected this environment.
‘Illustrious and Memorable Men:' The Ennobling Art of Portraiture in Golden Age Spain
Laura R. Bass, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Tulane University
While most famous for his paintings of Philip IV and the royal family, Diego Velázquez also produced extraordinary portraits of non-aristocratic individuals. This presentation will focus on his likenesses of intellectuals and artists, including the poet Luis de Góngora, the slave Juan de Pareja, the sculptor Juan Martínez Montañés, and the artist himself. The lecture will look at these portraits in their own right and in relation to effigies of learned men created by El Greco, Juan Van der Hamen and Velázquez’s father-in-law Francisco Pacheco, whose Libro de retratos furnishes the first part of the lecture’s title. By the early seventeenth century there was a well established practice in Spain of using the medium of portraiture to lay claim to elite status based less on inherited distinction than inherent talent. How that practice was theorized in art treatises and reinforced in literary texts will be an important component of the analysis.

Don’t miss related exhibition, Diego Velázquez: The Early Court Portraits, and lectures,Velázquez: Master and Masterpieces and Velázquez and His Contemporary Painters in Seville. Free and open to the public; no reservations required. Watch it live.

  • Heritage
  • Dallas
  • Sep 13, 2012
  • 03:00 pm – 06:00 pm


5900 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas

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Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75205



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Co-sponsored with the Department of Art History, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.