The Technique of Genius

Jonathan Brown and Carmen Garrido; Photographs by Carmen Garrido

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Great painters are invariably great technicians. In creating the techniques he needed to express his ideas, Velázquez became one of the most original practitioners of the art of painting ever known. In this richly illustrated book, two widely recognized specialists on Velázquez, one an art historian, the other a conservation scientist, combine their expertise to show exactly how Spain’s most famous painter realized his artistic vision.

The book begins with an introduction to Velázquez's life and the technical means he employed, including pigments, canvases, and binding media. In a fascinating analysis of thirty works by Velázquez that span his entire career, the authors then examine how the artist devised the techniques to express his ideas and how these changed over time. More than two hundred photographs of details of Velázquez’s paintings vividly demonstrate how the artist realized his vision of man and nature through a highly allusive, economical manner of painting. This pathbreaking exploration of Velázquez’s technical achievement reveals as never before the miracle of the creative process of one of the world’s great masters.

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 and Velázquez: Painter and Courtier, both published by Yale University Press. Carmen Garrido Pérez is head of technical services at the Prado Museum in Madrid and author of Velázquez: Tecnica y Evolución.

"This is the book for all students of Velázquez who want to know more about his materials and how he used them. . . . All levels."—Choice

"Velázquez: 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

ISBN: 9780300072938
Publication Date: December 11, 1998
216 pages, 9 3/4 x 11
30 b/w + 210 color illus.
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