Museums and Art

“Spinners”, Diego Velazquez - description of the painting

“Spinners”, Diego Velazquez - description of the painting

Strands - Diego Velazquez. 167 x 252 cm

The painting was painted 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 often found on the canvases of the artist. The canvas is complex, multicolor, saturated with many different objects and contains Velazquez's favorite technique - “picture in picture”.

In this case, an additional storyline depicted in the background is a large tapestry on historical subjects. It is the presence of this tapestry that generated the initial false interpretation of the history depicted in the picture.

For a long time it was believed that the theme of the canvas is dedicated to the image of the tapestry workshop at the royal monastery in Madrid. It was only in the middle of the 20th century that it was revealed that in fact the image was more correctly interpreted as an illustration to the myth of the competition between Athena and Arachne, borrowed from the Metamorphoses of the famous Roman poet Ovid.

The main characters are depicted in the foreground - Athena in a white headscarf and Arachne, who turned her back to the viewer. The essence of the competition was who strains the yarn more. Arachne defeated and was immediately punished for this - the vengeful Athena did not survive the insults and turned the spider into a spider.

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

The entire canvas is designed in the style of a typical Baroque - a complex multi-figure composition, rich, but noble muted, non-flashy colors, elaborate details of the image, architecture drowning in darkness. The picture seems genre, but its mythological plot adds depth to it and gives some intrigue to the image of a peaceful, at first glance, the process of creating yarn.

Attention is drawn to numerous, carefully prescribed draperies. The folds of the large curtain of golden scarlet, which the maid in the yellow skirt pushes aside, impress with the play of color and light. Another young girl in the center of the composition crouched, gathering scattered lumps of wool, and her saffron skirt shone with a sunny color spot, balancing the brightness of the large curtain. The servant behind Arachne, dressed in a brownish cloak and lying on a bench, a piece of reddish-pink fabric completes the harmony of the distribution of warm colors.

Arakhna and Athena are dressed in dark clothes with white accents - Athena has a dark brown dress without trim and a thin white scarf on her head, while Arakhna sits in a dark blue puffy skirt and a white loose blouse with high sleeves rolled up so as not to interfere with work. This technique allows you to unobtrusively highlight the central characters, make them the main ones in the picture. Completes this peaceful, at first glance, the scene is the image of a cat quietly dozing on the floor among the wool.

And nowadays this canvas attracts the attention of museum visitors with its image mastery and its plot.

Watch the video: Obra comentada: Las hilanderas, de Diego Velázquez (December 2021).