La venus del mirall 2022
The work depicts the goddess Venus in an erotic pose, lying on a bed and looking into a mirror held by the god of sensual love, her son Cupid. It is a mythological theme to which Velázquez, as usual in him, gives a mundane treatment. He does not treat the figure as a goddess but simply as a woman. This time, however, he dispenses with the ironic touch he uses with Bacchus, Mars or Vulcan.
The Sleeping Hermaphrodite, an ancient Roman copy, excavated around 1608-20, of a Hellenistic original, now in the Louvre Museum. When Velázquez was in Rome, he commissioned a bronze cast of the work for Madrid. The work is now in the Louvre Museum.
The National Art Collections Fund, then newly created, acquired the work in 1906 for £45,000, for the National Gallery, its first triumphant acquisition. King Edward VII greatly admired the painting and anonymously provided £8,000 to the fund for its purchase, and became a Patron of the Fund thereafter. The work is now in the National Gallery.
Venus, la diosa del amor, se reclina lánguidamente en su lecho, con las curvas de su cuerpo reflejadas en la suntuosa tela de satén. Los tonos nacarados de su suave piel contrastan con los ricos colores y las vivas pinceladas de la cortina y las sábanas. El rostro de Venus se refleja en el espejo que sostiene su hijo, Cupido, pero su reflejo es borroso: no podemos ver quién es realmente. Quizá Velázquez quería asegurarse de que Venus, la personificación de la belleza femenina, no fuera una persona identificable; tenemos que «completar» sus rasgos con nuestra imaginación. El rostro y la pierna lejana de Cupido están pintados de forma muy suelta y parecen casi inacabados: Velázquez utilizó deliberadamente un estilo abocetado para centrar nuestra atención en Venus. Su apodo, «La Venus de Rokeby», tiene su origen en Rokeby Park, una casa de campo en el condado de Durham, donde el cuadro estuvo colgado durante gran parte del siglo XIX.
Desde que la National Gallery adquirió la «Venus de Rokeby» de Diego Velázquez en 1906, se ha convertido en uno de los cuadros más populares de nuestra colección. Pero ¿quién es la misteriosa Venus que mira y qué sabemos sobre los orígenes de esta obra del gran…
In the interpretation of the painting we can discover that the beauty of the goddess’s body is contradicted by the real vulgarity of the blurred face exposed by the mirror. This object has a double meaning, both from a moral and cognitive point of view. The first, of a negative nature, represents vanity (myth of Narcissus). On the contrary, this symbol has the positive acceptance of truth, because of its fidelity to reproduce what it shows. Likewise, it is also possible to analyze the way in which Cupid holds the mirror (crossed hands and pink ribbon over them). This could symbolize the way in which love remains together with beauty.
became a popular subject in art from the European Renaissance onwards, its natural state of representation being nudity. Venus looking in the mirror was a theme that was known to the painter through an original painting by Titian that was hanging in the Alcazar of Madrid, although she was sitting and not lying down, besides being a theme initiated by the Venetian painting of the sixteenth century. Velázquez was not going to be satisfied with being an imitator and wanted to take a step forward, he was looking for a plausible and prodigiously natural nude.
The body of Venus, in the foreground and marked by curves and sinuosity, divides the composition with a diagonal line that crosses a large part of the painting from the upper right. On the left, the figure of Cupid closes the composition vertically, balancing it. The space is closed, is patterned by the red curtain and the folds of the bedspread, which emphasize the sensuality of the contours of the reclining body of the goddess, increasing the sense of intimacy.