Thursday, September 10, 2009

Metropolitan Museum of Art Discovers A New Velázquez In Its Own Collection: Is the Painting a Self Portrait?

Portrait of A Man (Self Portrait?)
oil on canvas circa 1634-35
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photo by Angel Franco/ New York Times

Portrait of A Man (Self Portrait?) detail
oil on canvas circa 1634-35
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Years of discolored varnish and overpainting have a revealed a fresh new face in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 17th Century Spanish Collection. Carol Vogel has an informative article in today's New York Times: An Old Master Emerges From Grime
Vogel interviewed Keith Christiansen, the Met’s newly appointed chairman of European paintings:“It’s bugged me for 25 years. The quality has always been there. And I had a hard time believing that a work of quality was the product of a generic workshop.”

Keith Christiansen had Velázquez expert Jonathan Brown look at the restored painting. Vogel reports his response: "“One glance was all it took,” Mr. Brown said, adding later, “The picture had been under my nose all my life. It’s a fantastic discovery. It suddenly emerges Cinderella-like.”

Who is this man who has emerged from the smudges and grime of centuries? Is it a long lost self portrait of the master himself? Look at the images and you decide.

Update: Tyler Green from Modern Art Notes has provided a twtpoll. Vote here: Is the Metropolitan Museum of Art's 'new' Velazquez a self-portrait?

The Surrender of Breda (Las Lanzas) detail
Oil on canvas, 307 x 367 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV (detail)
Oil on canvas, 318 x 276 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid
From the Prado's site:"On the left in the painting, dark and calm, the painter himself can be seen standing with brush and palette in front of a tall canvas."

The Metropolitan Displays Restorers Tools
photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

More at:
Met Press Room: Painting in Metropolitan Museum's Collection Reattributed to Spanish Master Velázquez
An Old Master Emerges From Grime
Self Portraits From the Uffizi
Velazquez: The Technique of Genius by Jonathan Brown

A fun read:
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber


Blogger Luis Colan said...

Hello Gregg, thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving your comment. The Titian show was amazing!
I was also very happy to find you through your blog about the Velazquez portrait at the Met. I have seen this painting many times over a period of 5 years and have always thought to myself that it is impossible that this piece was not by Velazquez himself. Yes it did look a little dark and yellow but not enough to knock it down as the work of his pupils. I have admired it for a long time, even made a study of it in my sketchbook hoping to learn something about the technique. I can't wait to see it back on it's wall!

10:24 AM  

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