Great loves - weaknesses - never abandon you. On the contrary. They become deeper and stronger with time.
I will not analyze Velázquez. I don't want to defile him. What I shall do is open up a part of my soul for you and let you in on those innermost depths where I keep my love and thoughts for his art and share them with you.
His Art! I was riveted by it! Stunned! It stirred my soul down to its very foundations! Then, it took its place quietly in my soul and settled itself in it, forever.
His Art! I stood and found myself listening to it! Listening to its piercing silence! (Who says painting cannot be heard?) I found myself listening to its intensity! Intensity heightens reality!
Velázquez conceived and embodied the paradox that Art is, deeper than anyone else.
He never bared his soul in his artworks and, yet, it is his soul and his presence that permeates everywhere and everything in his paintings. He was emotionally uninvolved in what he depicted and kept himself to himself. Quiet and serene. Superbly simple and noble. Decent and generous. Flawless and effortless. Dignified and self-effacing. Elegantly austere.
I can't help feeling that he painted with dispassion, so much that he had a phlegmatic approach to his paintings. And yet...
I feel in his paintings a restrained tension, a reserved energy. His painting is forceful! Incisive.
His penetrating eye and insight are acid.
They go beneath the surface of things. There is nothing ostentatious or superfluous in his art and, yet, there are no understatements in it.
His pervasive silence is booming.
It breathes of human dignity, of a moving compassion. And a deep sense of honour. Honour as a whole way of being.
Subjects do not become art in his hands. Subjects reveal their art in his hands.
During those first seconds, when I first saw the Old Woman Frying Eggs (1618), and, later, The Waterseller (1619-1620), my body had a strange, spontaneous reaction I didn't expect and didn't control :
I found myself reaching out to touch them. They are so impeccably natural, they seem to come out of the canvas.
I felt, almost, as if I could touch them. Touch the Old Woman's or the Waterseller's hand, take it and hold it in my hand in a transcendental union.
With his acute observation and incomparable brush, Velázquez did something - especially in these two artworks - not many people realize or have observed:
He painted the light - that reflects off the surface of the clay vessels, jugs, bronze container, the mortar and pestle, the pitchers, bowls, etc.,- in such a way that one can tell, under the light, what material it is that light is reflected upon. Not only did he accurately depict the light on these objects, but, he also captured the different texture of the light on each material. It is the same light, but because of the different materials it falls upon, it looks different, though as it should be. Parts of these objects are covered with light, yet, underneath, one can still tell it is bronze, clay, glass, etc.
Only one with the inimitable talent of Velázquez could achieve this technically in such perfection.
I could say a million more things about the phenomenon of Velázquez's art.
Perhaps I should stop here...
Velázquez adorned Art with his art and his poise, which never stoops to arrogance.
This, too, is one of the many reasons I fell in love with his art from the first moment I laid my eyes on it and why he is one of the grandest of the Old Masters in the History of Art.
He did not only conceive and paint the simplicity of grandeur.
He conceived and painted the grandeur of simplicity.
The Man who was the Artist. The Artist who was the Man.
- Melpomeni -