June 6, 2018


Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer





AND THEN CAME VELAZQUEZ 


I'm a bit of a French Impressionist art snob.  Nothing can compare to Monet and Renoir, and my favorite, Van GoghThen came Velázquez. 

I didn't mean to fall in love with his work.  His work came to me.

When my husband and I arrived in Spain last April, we dropped off our luggage and began exploring the  neighborhoods of Madrid.  As we wandered around, we discovered vibrant statues placed all over the city in honor of Diego de Velázquez.

Velázquez (1599-1660) was the royal painter in the court of Philip II in Madrid.  He sought to capture the reality of things and people rather than follow the classical standard of ideal beauty.    

The Maids of Honour by Velázquez were placed in streets, squares and recognisable settings. According to Meninas Madrid Gallery - Turismo Madrid  the statues "express the vision of the city of their creators, diverse personalities from the world of art, film, sport and celebrities in general. 

The initiative reinterprets each of the Infant Margarita’s maids of honour in the famous painting 
Las Meninas (The Ladies in Waitingby Velázquez in the form of a sculpture. The aim is to portray the plural identity of the Spanish capital through a street museum made up of more than 80 Maids of Honour.  Two metres high, each one will carry an individual message and, together, they will help to reveal Velázquez’s 'infinite message.'”   

The painting of Las Meninas is enormous—10.5 ft x 9 ft.  Imagine the undertaking that fell on Velázquez's shoulders:  deciding the viewpoint, the colors, the composition, how to add symbolism and mystery, and even where and how to insert himself in the painting!

So these little maids got me thinking about writing.  And how writing is like art.


painted-smeared hand holding pen and paint brush
Writers paint with words.

We wrap our words in symbolism and mystery.   We consider viewpoint.  We color our work with alliteration, assonance, simile and metaphor.  We observe the world around us.  We notice details.  

Our styles are as different as the canvases of Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Velázquez.

Our voices are unique.

We are artists.

And sometimes whether we're in the throes of writely bliss or in the despair of writer's block, or on vacation, or doing whatever it is we do daily, the universe brings us something we don't expect.  Something significant is put in right in our path...

to notice, observe, admire, and inspire. 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/68209/14-things-know-about-velazquezs-las-meninas

 À la prochaine



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