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Velazquez: The Technique of Genius [Paperback]

Jonathan Brown
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Jun 2003
In this volume, an art historian and a conservation scientist discuss the techniques Velazquez created in order to realize his artistic vision. Examining 30 works by Velazquez that span his entire career, the authors show how his technical achievement developed over time.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; New edition edition (20 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300101244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300101249
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 24.5 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 693,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Velazquez: The Technique of Genius is an illuminating introduction to what can be learnt from the surface of the pictures... It is built round illustrations of details, nearly all from paintings in the Prado." Peter Campbell, London Review of Books "A ravishingly beautiful, highly informative book. Brown and Garrido work well together, interweaving the artistic/historical background with the messy forensic facts effortlessly; the detail is stunning." George Crisp, Art Review

About the Author

Jonathan Brown is Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor of Fine Arts at New York University. He is the author of many books on Spanish art, including The Golden Age of Painting in Spain, Velazquez: Painter and Courtier, and, with John Elliott, Palace for a King, all published by Yale University Press. Carmen Garrido is head of technical services at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The life and career of Diego de Velazquez revolved around a weighty dilemma-how could he reconcile his artistic genius with a powerful desire to attain lofty social status? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ouch! There's That "G" Word Again..... 7 Feb 2003
This book has many wonderful reproductions, including a lot of "extreme close-ups". The close-ups are can see details of how Velazquez achieved certain effects- such as concentrated spots of pigment to represent the glitter of jewelery, or applying a transparent black "wash" over the white pages in a "book", to give the impression that there is writing in the "book". Additionally, Professor Brown provides a nice biographical sketch of Velazquez in the first 20 pages of the book, and he writes very well indeed. The commentary that accompanies the plates contains a lot of fascinating historical information- we learn a lot about the "court" of Philip IV, the roles of dwarves and jesters, etc. The author discusses the symbolism included in the paintings- for example, the importance of showing the king in control of a horse (which implies he is a good ruler as well as a good horseman). One of the most fascinating plates is the portrait of Mariana of Austria, who was Philip's second wife. Professor Brown explains that Philip's first wife, and his only son, had died and the king needed to remarry and produce a male heir. Unfortunately, Mariana was Philip's niece. As you might expect, the only surviving male heir of their marriage, Charles II, proved incapable of ruling and also of having any children of his own. With his death, the Habsburg dynasty of Spain came to an end. But the physical act of painting the picture also ties into this sad story. Velazquez was a very "economical" painter (some might say lazy). He wasn't very productive, and he also didn't like to waste canvasses he had worked on. In this case, he had started a canvas of Philip IV. The physical resemblance between Philip and his niece was so great that the artist was able to paint Mariana's face over Philip's. Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This recent addition to my Velazquez collection, is by far the best yet on the technique of this master painter. Jonathan Brown has again produced a book with wonderful information and reproductions. A must have for the Art historian, Art lover, and Fanatic of Velazquez!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Velazquez: The Technique of Genius 25 Nov 2009
By Miffy
This book is absolutely fantastic! It's a brilliant buy if you are especially interested in making paintings yourself or of studying them in depth. The quality of the illustrations both whole and the details are fab and the writing too is excellent.
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